Environmental

Environmental

Establishing A Sustainability Imperative

Goal: Identify seven core elements for inclusion in a detailed Sustainability Management Program (SMP). The SMP establishes the foundation for the Airport Authority’s sustainability strategy for the coming years.

 

Data Trends:

  • In 2019, the San Diego International Airport was the first airport in California, and second in North America to achieve ACA Level 3+ “Carbon Neutrality.”
  • Compared to last year, total energy use and energy use intensity (per square foot) increased slightly in 2019 to 246,968 MMbtu and 92.7 Mbtu, respectively.
  • In 2019, with larger Group V aircraft using the full length of the east end of Taxiway B for the first time, biologists from the San Diego Zoo that monitor the on-airfield nesting activity of the endangered California Least Tern did not observe any impacts from this use of the taxiway that would adversely affect the bird species.
  • Out of 6,760 tons of solid waste (non-hazardous, non-construction) collected in CY19, approximately 28% was diverted from the landfill and recycled, which is up from 22% the previous two reporting years.
  • In 2019, the Airport Authority invested $14.7 million to sound attenuate residences in the 65 dB and greater contours.

The Airport Authority has long established itself as a leader in the aviation industry by incorporating sustainability into its operations and development. Recognizing that innovation is no longer a choice, but an imperative, the Airport Authority has chosen to further integrate sustainability by identifying seven core elements for inclusion into a detailed Sustainability Management Program (SMP).

The Airport Authority has now developed strategic plans for seven elements and synthesized and developed the core components of each plan to develop an overarching SMP for all airport-related operations. All plans are intended to be living documents that will be updated periodically to reflect changes in strategy and relevant technological innovations and scientific findings.

The seven elements are encapsulated below, and discussed in detail throughout the Environmental section of this Sustainability Report.

  • Clean Transportation: The Clean Transportation Plan provides an organized framework for reducing fossil fuel use by expanding the use of alternative vehicles and other sustainable transportation methods, and advancing supporting infrastructure.
  • Climate Resilience: The Climate Resilience Plan serves a strategy for achieving business continuity in future climate conditions, while ensuring that extreme weather events do not impair airport operations or affect airport customers and employees.
  • Carbon Neutrality: The Carbon Neutrality Plan provides a roadmap for the Authority’s efforts to manage air quality from a holistic perspective, by addressing virtually every source and form of air emissions that the Authority has control over, and those sources over which the Authority merely has influence.
  • Zero Waste: The Zero Waste Plan is a guide for eliminating or reducing the generation of non-durable materials that are generated across operations.
  • Biodiversity: The Biodiversity Plan provides an organized framework for managing and advancing biodiversity by continuing to maintain protected habitat onsite, expanding and enhancing the Integrated Pest Management Program, and planting native and drought-tolerant plants.
  • Water Stewardship: The Water Stewardship Plan addresses issues of water conservation, water quality, and flood risk considerations through an integrated approach that enables airport operational growth, while protecting the region’s limited resources.
  • Sustainable Energy: The Strategic Energy Plan outlines how the Authority manages its energy resources and its transition to a fully renewable portfolio, while preparing to accommodate passenger growth, development projects, and the added variability of a changing climate.

The Airport Authority has set goals and stand-alone strategies to be achieved by 2035 in each of the above programmatic areas. The development and completion of our sustainability plans will serve as a framework for monitoring and planning our work to achieve an enduring and resilient enterprise while considering our environmental, financial, and social obligations, risks, and opportunities.

85.5 Million

Total potable water consumption in 2019, 8.6 million gallons lower than previous year
 
Ocean-Friendly Restaurant Program Debuts at SAN
 

In 2019, SAN became the first airport in the nation to offer an “ocean-friendly” dining option certified by the Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Restaurant Program. This was the result of a unique collaboration between the Surfrider Foundation and the airport’s existing Green Concessions program, which has successfully facilitated over 50 concessions adopting more sustainable business practices. Einstein Bros. Bagels in Terminal 2 West joined a wave of eateries worldwide publicly pledging to both reduce their plastic waste and boost environmental awareness about the alarming rise of garbage cluttering Earth’s waterways.

The Ocean Friendly Restaurant campaign is part of the Surfrider Foundation’s efforts to combat what scientists estimate is over 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic polluting oceans and threatening aquatic life.

Recognizing Einstein Bros

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Einstein Bros. Ocean Friendly Restaurant location operated 18 hours daily. Its efforts to promote ocean-friendly environmental practices include:

  • No polystyrene (Styrofoam)
  • Proper recycling practices
  • No plastic straws (paper straws upon request)
  • No plastic bags for take-away orders
  • Reusable food ware option if dining onsite
  • Energy conservation efforts
  • Water conservation efforts
  • Vegetarian/vegan food options offered on a regular basis
Recognizing The Prado

Following in the footsteps of Einstein Bros., The Prado in Terminal 2 East became SAN’s second ocean-friendly restaurant in 2019. The Prado’s efforts to promote ocean-friendly practices include:

  • No polystyrene (Styrofoam)
  • Proper recycling practices
  • Paper straws only upon request
  • No plastic bags for take-away orders and utensils provided only upon request
  • Reusable food ware for onsite dining
  • Energy conservation efforts
  • Water conservation efforts
  • Vegetarian/vegan food options offered on a regular basis

Additional environmentally sustainable practices are encouraged for participating Ocean Friendly Restaurants, which number over 115 in San Diego County, and in the hundreds across 26 states nationwide plus Canada and Washington, D.C.

Improving Air Quality While Reducing Emissions

Goal: Achieve Airport Carbon Accreditation Level 3+ by 2022 [OSP] and reduce airport-wide emissions per passenger by 30% by 2035 (2015 baseline). [SMP]

 
Data Trends:
  • In 2019, San Diego International Airport maintained its status as the first airport in California, and second in North America to achieve ACA Level 3+ “Carbon Neutrality.”
  • Greenhouse gas emissions under the Airport Authority’s direct control (i.e. from building energy use and fleet vehicles) decreased over 34% compared to the previous year due to lighting energy efficiency retrofits, more electric Authority fleet vehicles, and the Authority’s continued procurement of grid-delivered solar power via SDG&E’s green tariff.
  • However, overall airport-wide greenhouse gas emissions increased by 2.9% from 2018 to 417,848 MT CO2e in 2019, mainly due to the larger number of aircraft operations at SAN. Despite this, emissions on a per passenger basis slightly decreased to 0.0166 MT.
  • In 2019, the San Diego Air Pollution Control District installed a new air quality monitoring station in downtown San Diego in the general vicinity of SAN, which recorded a maximum 8-hour concentration for ozone of 0.072 parts per million.

In 2019, the Airport Authority Board accepted a Carbon Neutrality Plan which establishes the Authority’s strategy for managing air quality and greenhouse gas emissions at the airport.

In the same year, SAN maintained carbon neutral accreditation for airport-controlled emissions and was recertified at Level 3+, the highest level of certification through Airports Council International’s Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) program. The third-party verified program is a framework that helps airports identify, manage, and reduce their carbon emissions. SAN is the first airport in California, and second in North America, to achieve ACA Level 3+ Carbon Neutrality. The accomplishment was due to the Airport Authority’s ability to work with employees and tenants, as well as implement plans to reduce carbon emissions.

Electrifying Our Infrastructure and Vehicles

Like many airports, most of the ground support equipment (GSE), which includes aircraft pushback tugs and baggage carts, are operated by third parties and utilize internal combustion engines that contribute to greenhouse gases. Each year, the Airport Authority’s Planning & Environmental Affairs department conducts a GSE inventory of all equipment on the airfield. In 2019, 830 pieces of GSE were deployed airside with 31 percent of the GSE classified as “Low Carbon Emission.”

Through a partnership with San Diego Gas & Electric, the Airport Authority helped American Airlines upgrade their electric vehicle charging stations on the airfield and is working with the carrier on ways to better manage their energy usage. American Airlines’ electric GSE – and all electric GSE on the airfield – is powered with over 85 percent renewable solar energy.

Greenhouse gas emissions under the Airport Authority’s direct control (i.e. from building energy use and fleet vehicles) decreased more than 34% compared to the previous year due to lighting energy efficiency retrofits, more electric Authority fleet vehicles, and the Authority’s continued procurement of grid-delivered solar power via San Diego Gas & Electric’s green tariff. Similar to 2018, the Airport Authority carbon offset the residual emissions under its control using The Good Traveler, a carbon offset program developed and owned by the Airport Authority that comprises 17 formal Program Members (i.e. Airports) in North America that have collectively offset nearly 600 million miles of travel.  Together, these Program Members represent over 275 million annual enplanements (2018 data).

However, overall airport-wide greenhouse gas emissions increased by 2.9% from 2018 to 417,848 MT CO2e in 2019, mainly due to the larger number of aircraft operations at SAN; however, emissions on a per passenger basis slightly decreased to 0.0166 MT.

Demonstrating Climate Leadership

On March 5, 2020 at the 2020 Climate Leadership Conference, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority received a 2020 Climate Leadership Award for Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management for our 2019 efforts. In addition, Brendan Reed, the Airport Authority’s Director of Planning and Environmental Affairs, received an Individual Leadership award for his efforts in environmental operations and strategies.

The award recognized exemplary corporate, organizational, and individual leadership in reducing carbon pollution and addressing climate change.

The Airport Authority will assist airlines in transitioning over 80% of their ground support equipment to electric or renewable diesel by 2024, by pursuing grant funding for expanded airside charging infrastructure for Terminal 2. Additionally, the Authority will continue to partner with San Francisco International Airport and others on advocating for state incentives for the production and use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel in California.

Energizing Our Future

Goal: Transition to 100% renewable electricity and decrease energy use intensity by 30% by 2035 (2015 baseline). [Sustainability Management Plan]

 
Data Trends:
  • Compared to last year, total energy use and energy use intensity (per square foot) increased slightly in 2019 to 246,968 MMbtu and 92.7 Mbtu, respectively. This refers to how we measure the amount of electricity and natural gas that it takes to provide power and conditioned air (heat or A/C) to the terminals.
  • However, the Airport Authority’s percentage of electricity being derived from solar and other renewable sources remained high at more than 85%.

In 2019, the Airport Authority Board accepted a Strategic Energy Plan that establishes the Authority’s cost-effective energy resilience strategies and ensures they are environmentally responsible and fully aligned with airport operations and development.

The airport has set an important goal of transitioning to 100 percent renewable electricity and decreasing energy use intensity by 30 percent by 2035. This remains a work in progress. Compared to the previous year, total energy use and energy use intensity (per square foot) increased slightly in 2019 to 246,968 MMbtu and 92.7 Mbtu, respectively. This refers to how we measure the amount of electricity and natural gas that it takes to provide power and conditioned air (heat or A/C) to the terminals. Energy use intensity increased because we used more energy to serve the increased number of passengers that went through the airport last year. One takeaway from this is that energy intensity per square foot is anticipated to decrease when we have a new, more energy efficient Terminal 1.

Looking at Energy Intensity

Interestingly, when we look at energy intensity per passenger (a similar metric, but using the moving target of annual passenger counts), the energy intensity actually decreased from 10.12 to 9.79 Mbtu/passenger.

The Airport Authority’s percentage of electricity being derived from solar and other renewable sources remained high at more than 85 percent.

The Authority has also announced the procurement of an ENGIE battery energy storage system. Paired with the airport’s existing photovoltaic solar system, ENGIE’s 2MW/ 4MWh GridSynergy® energy storage system reduces the daily peak electricity demand and significantly lower utility demand costs. The battery storage system allows the airport to maximize financial and environmental benefits from its campus-wide PV portfolio. With the installation of the battery energy storage system (expected by December 2020), the Airport Authority anticipates $1 million in savings on utility demand costs over 10 years. In addition, the system is an important tool in harnessing our onsite renewable energy opportunities and maximizing their benefits as outlined in the Strategic Energy Plan.

Saving Money through Energy Efficiency

Six energy efficiency lighting projects with airfield and in-terminal replacements were completed in 2019, with a total estimated annual financial savings of $332,752 and a total estimated annual energy savings: 4,126,028 kWh.

Additionally, the airport completed three energy-saving projects in 2019: the replacement of airfield apron lighting fixtures with LED, a chilled water plant optimization project; and a HVAC retro-commissioning project. Together, these projects save the airport 1.8 GWhs/yr of energy consumption.

$1 Million

Anticipated savings on utility demand costs over the next 10 years with the installation of the battery energy storage system

The Airport Authority will pursue participation in SDG&E Direct Access or San Diego Community Power (the City of San Diego’s a new Community Choice Aggregation program) to procure 100% grid-delivered renewable electricity for SAN’s campus by 2024.

Also, the Authority will complete a siting study to determine the optimal location and interconnection for an additional 4 MW of solar and 4 MWh of battery energy storage systems at SAN.

Water - A Precious Resource

Water Goal: Decrease potable water use by 30% by 2035 (2016 baseline). [SMP]
Stormwater Goal: Drain 75% of the Airport site to cisterns or infiltration beds to improve storm water quality by 2035. [SMP]

 
Data Trends:
  • Total potable water consumption in 2019 was 85.5 million gallons, which was 8.6 million gallons lower than the previous year and 5% lower than 2016 levels.
  • Water use intensity also decreased 13% from 2018 to 3.39 gallons per passenger in 2019.
  • The amount of stormwater captured, treated, and reused surpassed 1.8 million gallons, a 386% increase from the previous year.
  • As of 2019, stormwater from approximately 11% of the airport site drains to infiltration beds or cisterns, rather than draining into San Diego Bay.
  • Stormwater runoff samples collected during 2019 exceeded water quality standards for various constituents 6% of the time.
  • This exceedance frequency is the lowest that has been recorded, since the Airport Authority began tracking this metric in FY11.

In 2019, the Airport Authority Board accepted a Water Stewardship Plan that provides a framework for rethinking how to manage water resources while preparing to accommodate passenger growth, new airport developments, and a changing climate. In the same year, the Airport Authority made significant strides toward water conservation.

The stormwater was captured from the 7.6-acre upper deck of the Terminal 2 Parking Plaza at the airport. The Parking Plaza is a three-level, 2,900-space parking garage constructed in front of Terminal 2. The captured water is used to offset the potable water use in the airport Central Utility Plant’s evaporative cooling towers.

Condensate is also collected on the airport grounds. In 2109, about 100,000 gallons of condensate were collected from the 18 most heavily used jet bridges at Terminals 1 and 2. The water is used to wash sidewalks, equipment, vehicles and building exteriors in addition to being used in the Central Utility Plant’s cooling towers that control the temperature in the terminals.

In 2019, the San Diego County Water Authority recognized the Airport Authority for our partnership in the “Brought to You By Water” campaign (a.k.a. #B2UbyH20), an outreach and education program to raise awareness about the importance of safe and reliable water supplies for the San Diego region. In support of the campaign, the airport installed water-efficient fixtures throughout the campus and implemented drought-resistant landscaping.

The Airport Authority closely monitors water usage across the entire airport campus and embraces creativity in water management through innovative programs such as condensate and rainwater collection and reuse. 

The Airport Authority will install a three-million gallon cistern on SAN’s north side, which will significantly expand stormwater infiltration and reuse opportunities. This initiative minimizes impact to San Diego Bay.

Cheers to innovation!
 

San Diego International Airport teamed with a local water purification company and a major craft brewing company in 2019 to create a craft beer made from water recaptured from the airfield.

In 2014, the airport’s Environmental Affairs team began collecting condensate that was dripping from the bottom of air conditioning units attached to jet bridges. Since then, the collection has grown and in 2019, the airport captured about 100,000 gallons from 18 of the most heavily used jet bridges at Terminals 1 and 2. The water is used to wash sidewalks, equipment, vehicles and building exteriors in addition to being used in the cooling towers that control the temperature in the terminals.

However, it took one conversation between Planning & Environmental Affairs Manager, Richard Gilb, and industrial water purification company, Water Works, Inc., to dream up something even more innovative (and tasty). Could a beer be brewed with the condensate collected from the air conditioning units? The answer: Yes!

Collaboration Sparks Innovation

The idea to brew a beer with reclaimed water stemmed from the airport’s commitment to sustainability and was brought to life through collaboration.

Water Works purified the condensate water using ozone disinfection, then suggested that local brewery Ballast Point brew the beer since they had experimented with water reclamation before, turning reclaimed, purified water into drinkable beer. The airport’s Environmental Affairs team reached out to Ballast Point, which has a tasting room location about 2.5 miles away from the airport in Little Italy, and started talks with their research and development team. They were interested and started working with both Water Works and the airport to get things moving.

Ballast Point wanted to create a beer that was light and crisp to allow the water to shine through so they decided on a beer that blends two styles – a Kӧlsh and Dortmunder Export. To brew the beer, aptly named SAN Test Pilot, Ballast Point ran the water through its standard production process that includes carbon filtration and used a higher level of brewing salts to achieve a strong mineral character which both styles represented exemplify.

The beer was available for a brief time at San Diego Ballast Point locations in Little Italy and Miramar as well as Home Brew Mart in December 2019.

Managing Impacts from Extreme Weather Events

Goal: Zero reports of customer or operational impacts from flooding and extreme heat events by 2035. [SMP]

 

In 2019, the Airport Authority Board accepted a Climate Resilience Plan which establishes the Authority’s strategy for achieving uninterrupted business continuity in future climate conditions.

Initial steps were taken towards one initiative that’s on the rise, sea level rise that is. In 2019, the Airport Authority, in partnership with the Port of San Diego and San Diego Gas & Electric, collaborated with the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Center for Climate Change Impacts, and Adaptation, to develop a bay-wide wave and water level observational network. The goal of the network is to collect real-time data that will be used to model and forecast potential impacts related to climate change and sea-level-rise. The Airport Authority provided funding assistance to Scripps for the purchase of sensors that track water levels and wave movements in San Diego Bay. Multiple sensors have been deployed around the Bay and have begun tracking and publishing data. The data will be utilized by local, state and federal agencies to develop adaptation strategies to avoid or mitigate potential impacts. 

The Airport Authority has also adopted a policy that newly constructed buildings in areas prone to flooding need to be built on elevated pads. The newly constructed Airline Support Building was the first to be built under this policy.

The Airport Authority is dedicated to achieving climate resilience holistically by understanding and preparing for changes in sea level rise, precipitation patterns, and extreme heat.

The Airport Authority will continue to pilot the US Green Building Council’s new “RELi” rating system to inform the resilient design and construction of the Authority’s new Administration Building. Also, the Authority will continue to screen all new capital projects to ensure that they are designed to be resilient to future climate change impacts, such as flooding and extreme heat events.

Least Tern Habitat Management

Least Terns Goal: Work with state and federal wildlife agencies to address operational growth and California Least Tern habitat management. [OSP]
Wildlife/Pest Management Goal: Decrease use of chemical pesticides by 50% by 2035 (2018 baseline). [SMP]

 
Data Trends:
  • In 2019, with larger Group V aircraft using the full length of the east end of Taxiway B for the first time, biologists from the San Diego Zoo who monitor the on-airfield nesting activity of the endangered California Least Tern did not observe any impacts from this use of the taxiway that would adversely affect the bird species.
  • The amount of habitat preserved and actively managed by the Airport Authority for the endangered California Least Tern remained constant at over 20 acres.
  • The number of wildlife strikes increased slightly in 2019 to 1.05 per 10,000 aircraft operations, but still remains lower than the long-term average of 1.36.
  • In 2019, the Authority decreased its use of chemical pesticides to 6,414 ounces, which is approximately 31% lower than 2018 levels.

Each year between April and September, the California Least Tern comes to San Diego to meet its lifelong mate. The SAN airfield is home to a protected nesting area, and the Least Tern continued to nest at SAN in 2019, laying eggs and raising chicks in the sand and gravel in four oval areas between the runway and the airplane taxiways in the southeast corner of the airfield. The amount of habitat preserved and actively managed by the Airport Authority for the endangered sea bird remained constant in 2019 at just over 20 acres.

Least tern colony locations, colony size, and reproductive success vary from year to year, depending on the availability of nesting habitat and food, the impacts of predators, and the impacts of human disturbance. In 2019, SAN documented a total of 19 nests, a low number thought to reflect the impact of climate change on the endangered bird. Warmer offshore waters push anchovies (one of the birds’ main food sources) into deeper waters, making it more difficult for adult Least Terns to find food for their growing chicks.

Protecting Nesting Habitat

Although Least Tern numbers are down across the entire region, the fledgling per adult pair ratio at SAN continues to be among the highest in the state. The Airport Authority works diligently to protect Least Tern nesting habitat at the airport and the surrounding community.  SAN has seen several generations of Least Terns, which can live for more than 20 years. Least Terns share parenting duties and take turns incubating their nest, while one parent fishes and brings back dinner. The chicks grow very rapidly and within 21 days or so have reached the size of an adult and are ready to take their first flight.

In 2019, with larger aircraft using the full length of the east end of Taxiway B for the first time, biologists from the San Diego Zoo that monitor the on-airfield nesting activity of the endangered California Least Tern did not observe any impacts from this use of the taxiway that would adversely affect the bird species.

Educating Employees

One of the important strategies for airport wildlife management is educating new and existing employees. All badged employees at the airport need to pass an annual mandatory training in order to begin and continue employment, which includes information regarding proper wildlife management. Other Least Tern protection measures include prohibiting activities within the Least Tern ovals, reducing vehicle speed near the ovals to 15 mph, and properly disposing of trash and keeping outdoor trash dumpsters covered so as not to attract Least Tern predators. Effective wildlife management helps to deter other birds on and around the airport, which equates to safer air travel. The number of wildlife strikes increased slightly in 2019 to 1.05 per 10,000 aircraft operations, but still remains lower than the long-term average of 1.36.

19

Total documented Least Tern nests in 2019

The Airport Authority plans to expand and enhance approximately 0.5 acres of California Least Tern habitat on airport property, by removing asphalt and adding suitable nesting substrate.

Doing Our Part to Address Aircraft Noise

Goal: Advocate for continued federal sound insulation grant funding to help reduce the number of community members affected by aircraft noise. [OSP]

 
Data Trends
  • In 2019, the Airport Authority invested $14.7 million to sound attenuate residences in the 65 dB and greater contours.
  • There were approximately 238,000 aircraft takeoffs and landings in 2019, representing a 3% increase from the previous year.
  • In 2019, approximately 13,300 people resided in areas affected by aircraft noise (i.e. in the 65 dB noise contour).
  • While it represents nearly a 20% decrease in the number of people from CY18, the difference is mainly an artifact of a new FAA model being used in 2019, which is able to more accurately calculate noise levels, as well as more precise population estimates derived from parcel data.
  • In 2019, the Airport Authority received a record $14.6 million grant from the FAA to support the Quieter Home Program.
San Diego International Airport (SAN) is committed to being a good neighbor and reducing the impacts of aircraft noise for those who live and work nearby.

There were approximately 238,000 aircraft takeoffs and landings in 2019, representing a three percent increase from the previous year.

In 2019, approximately 13,300 people resided in areas affected by aircraft noise (i.e. in the 65 dB noise contour). While that represents nearly a 20 percent decrease from 2018, the difference is mainly due to a new FAA model being used in 2019, which is able to more accurately calculate noise levels, as well as more precise population estimates derived from parcel data.

Working with Airlines, Community

There are several ways we work with our airline partners, stakeholders and area residents on noise mitigation initiatives.

In 2019, the airport accelerated the timing for a voluntary study to evaluate noise impacts. The study is guided by FAA regulations with the ultimate goal of identifying opportunities to further reduce noise for our surrounding communities. This study is called a Part 150 Noise Compatibility Study Update. The Airport Authority in 2019 completed the first portion of the study that examines existing conditions, forecasts, noise contours, and other items. Analysis on potential alternatives to reduce aircraft noise was conducted, as well as three technical advisory and citizen advisory committee meetings along with one public workshop. For more information on the Part 150 study, see https://sannoisestudy.com/.

In addition to studying noise issues, the Airport Authority seeks to make a difference through the construction of tangible improvements. The Quieter Home Program works with eligible San Diego residents to outfit their home with sound insulation treatments to mitigate aircraft noise. Since its inception, the Quieter Home Program has retrofitted over 4,300 single-family and multi-family residences immediately east and west of the airport. In 2019, the Airport Authority invested $14.7 million to sound attenuate residences in the 65 dB and greater contours.

A Record Grant

In 2019, the Airport Authority received a record $14.6 million grant from the FAA to support the Quieter Home Program.

A major limitation for the airport in trying to address community noise concerns is that it cannot restrict the number or type of aircraft using SAN, nor where those aircraft fly. Nonetheless, the airport works to encourage airlines to use the quietest aircraft and to strictly adhere to the nighttime departure curfew through its Fly Quiet Awards. In 2019, the Airport Authority, in collaboration with the Airport Noise Advisory Committee (ANAC), recognized four airlines for their efforts to reduce noise: United Airlines, Allegiant Air, Japan Airlines and American Airlines.

The Airport Authority will complete current stakeholder engagement activities to inform a draft Part 150 Study submittal to the FAA for potential aircraft noise mitigation and abatement opportunities. Additionally, the Authority will pursue FAA grant funding to launch a new sound insulation program for schools and places of worship in neighborhoods surrounding SAN.

Land Use Guidance

Goal: Facilitating Safe Airport Planning Throughout San Diego County

 
Data Trend:
  • 15 of the 16 regional airports have completed Airport Land Use Compatibility Plans.
California law requires the preparation and adoption of an Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan (ALUCP) for each public-use and military airport in California. Serving as the Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC) for San Diego County, the Airport Authority is responsible for preparing and adopting ALUCPs for 16 airports located in its jurisdiction.

Under CEQA, it is also the designated “lead agency” responsible for preparing the necessary environmental analysis to disclose the potential environmental impacts associated with implementation of the ALUCP policies. Each proposed ALUCP is intended to promote compatibility between the airport and the surrounding land uses for the protection of public health, safety, and welfare.

In 2019 and 2020, the Authority’s ALUC staff has been focused on two primary projects: the preparation of an ALUCP for Naval Air Station – North Island (NASNI), located on Coronado Island, and preparing updates to ALUCPs for six airports located within rural areas of San Diego County.

NASNI is the only remaining public use or military airport that falls within the jurisdiction of the ALUC that does not have an adopted ALUCP. In late 2019, the Draft ALUCP and associated environmental analysis were published for public review and comment. ALUC staff are currently reviewing and responding to comments raised by the public and local agencies.

Preparing Updates for Rural Airports

The six rural airports are owned and operated by the County of San Diego. The ALUC staff has prepared updates to ALUCPs for these airports and hosted three public meetings in the communities of Borrego Springs, Fallbrook and Ramona to solicit feedback on the draft plans that were made available for public review in February 2020.

In addition to the preparation of ALUCPs, staff continue to prepare and issue consistency determinations for proposed projects located throughout the County. These consistency determinations are done to ensure that projects do not conflict with adopted ALUCP policies that address airspace, noise, safety and overflight. This includes the evaluation of projects surrounding San Diego International Airport (SAN) where local agencies have not fully implemented the ALUCP.

Since 2018, only one project has been found to be inconsistent with an adopted ALUCP. This consistency determination was later overruled by the City of San Diego, which is an option provided to local agencies under the adopted plans.

ALUC staff are currently working with the County of San Diego to address questions that were raised during the public comment period for the six airports within rural areas of San Diego County. The Naval Air Station North Island plan will be reviewed by the ALUC Commissioners in the fall of 2020.

In regards to proposed projects surrounding San Diego International Airport, ALUC staff continue to work with the City of San Diego on the full implementation of the ALUCP. Full implementation is anticipated by the end of 2020.