The airport expansion has been dubbed “The Green Build” by the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority because of its commitment to environmental goals — low-water landscaping, reduced electricity, natural lighting and recycled materials. The Airport Authority is applying for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, the gold standard for environmentally conscious construction.
“What this demonstrates is that you can create a project that is customer-focused, financially responsible, supports the regional economy and is sustainable,” said Robert H. Gleason, chairman of the nine-member Airport Authority board.
The Airport Authority is an independent agency created in 2003 to manage the day-to-day operations of San Diego International Airport and address the region’s long-term air-transportation needs.
Terminal 2’s expansion is a major milestone in the history of Lindbergh Field, which dates back to 1928.
“It’s the largest project the airport has ever undertaken — and delivered — to the community,” noted Gleason.
Looking at the larger picture, Gleason said Terminal 2’s expansion is “just one step on our continuous journey.” That journey, he said, is “part of the renewed focus on developing San Diego International Airport in a way that will continue to meet the demands of the traveling public and our airline partners for many years to come.”
The expanded Terminal 2 includes: 10 new gates, adding roughly 50 flights per day; separate dedicated drop-off lanes for departing and arriving passengers; “smart curb” services that allow passengers to check in, print boarding passes, check baggage and view gate information from outside the terminal; more security lanes to improve flow of passengers and cut down on wait times; and fully automated baggage service streamlining operations.
A cornerstone of the newly expanded airport terminal is Sunset Cove, a dining area offering panoramic views and featuring trendy, locally based restaurants and shops. Among the concessionaires: Stone Brewing, Pannikin Coffee and Tea, Saffron, Phil’s BBQ, Artisan Market, Stack Shack, 12th Fairway Bar and Grill, Warwick’s of La Jolla, PGA Tour Shops, Lacoste, Kids Love San Diego, Jack in the Box, Jewelry by Samantha Davimes, Sunglass Hut, Brookstone, Brighton Collectibles, In Motion Entertainment, CNBC News and Be Relax Spa.
Airport Authority spokeswoman Katie Jones produced a laundry list of customer-friendly, progressive airport amenities now center stage at Lindbergh Field. She said there are 21 shops in the new expanded terminal and twice as many airport security lanes.
“Our new Sunset Cove concession area is beautiful, bright and open, with an enormous three-story glass wall and art,” Jones said.
Noting more than 800 outlets have been added throughout the terminal so people can plug in and charge electrical devices like laptops and phones, Jones said a fully automated baggage system with 550 motors will increase both the speed and accuracy of handling while “screening 100 percent of bags going through.”
“We tried really hard to bring in all the high-tech amenities and new features that people are looking for,” Jones said.
There’s even an airport amenity very few have seen until now — a bathroom for dogs, complete with a red fire hydrant.
Terminal 2’s expansion and future projects are designed to meet projected growth at Lindbergh Field, the busiest one-runway airport in the country and second-busiest single-runway airport in the world. When ground broke on The Green Build project in 2009, the airport served an estimated 17 million per year. By 2030, that number could almost double.
Gleason said the objective of San Diego International Airport’s green build was “to have the airport reflect the community, taking advantage of the climate, the outdoors, the downtown, the bay views.
“The new concessions are a mix of national and local brands and flavors that highlight the best San Diego has to offer,” said Gleason.
“This (airport) space really speaks to San Diego and our culture as a community. Our goal here was to create an airport experience that had a sense of place,” he said.