The San Diego International Airport’s New Terminal 1(New T1) will feature 30 gates, retail concessions, and more security checkpoint lanes. Credit: San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.
The Turner-Flatiron joint venture (JV) will deliver the new airport terminal. Credit: San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.
The first 19 gates are scheduled to be functional in July 2025. Credit: San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.

The new Terminal 1 (T1) at San Diego International Airport will replace the existing Terminal 1 at the airport.

The board of directors of San Diego County Regional Airport Authority approved the master project schedule for the design and construction of the new T1 in October 2021. The maximum contract price for the new terminal is fixed at $2.6bn.

Construction of T1 is expected to begin in November 2021, after the completion of the US Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. The project is expected to be completed by June 2028. It is estimated to generate up to 20,000 local jobs.

Operational since 1928, the San Diego International Airport is the third busiest airport in California and the busiest single-runway commercial service airport in the country. Passenger traffic fell by 63% from 25.2 million passengers in 2019 to 9.2 million passengers in 2020 due to the travel restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The airport was renamed from Lindbergh Field to San Diego International Airport in 2003.

San Diego International Airport’s new Terminal 1 project details

The 1.2 million square foot T1 will replace the existing Terminal 1, which was built in 1967. It will feature up to 30 gates, of which 19 are scheduled to be opened in July 2025 and the remaining in early 2027.

The new terminal will have more seating for passengers in the gate area, and a range of food and beverage, gifts, and retail concessions. It will be equipped with more security checkpoint lanes compared to the existing terminal.

The airport’s roadways will be improved to enhance the movement of cars, buses, bikes, and pedestrians to and from the airport and reduce congestion on Harbor Drive. Further, a new parking plaza will be built for ground transportation services.

Sustainability features at the new T1

The new terminal building of the San Diego International Airport will be designed with climate-resilient features. It will incorporate multiple energy-efficient and sustainable features such as redesigned taxiways and other airfield improvements to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-Silver certification.

The linear design of the terminal coupled with the new Taxiway A is expected to reduce the taxiing times of aircraft on the runway, cutting greenhouse gas emissions. An underground aircraft fuel delivery system will be installed to reduce the need for delivering fuel to the aircraft using trucks, which will, in turn, reduce emissions and enable quicker turnaround time at gates.

The building will be powered by renewable electricity. Stormwater capture and reuse system will also be installed.

Contractors involved in the New T1 project

The project will be delivered by a joint venture between US-based construction firms Turner Construction Company and Flatiron.

Other developments at the San Diego International Airport

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority was awarded grants worth $25.9m by the FAA for implementing noise mitigation measures, in September 2021. The funds will be used for the airport’s Quieter Home Program (QHP), which funds sound insulation for homes.

The programme helps lower the decibels inside the homes from aircraft by retrofitting exterior doors and windows and installing ventilation systems.

The FAA also awarded grants worth $3.9m to install 39 dual-port charging stations for electric ground support equipment at the airport in August 2021.

The airport partnered with Honeywell Building Technologies (HBT) to test the latter’s video analytics solution to monitor airport behaviour for enhancing safety. The technology vendor will work with the SAN innovation lab, which is the airport’s accelerator programme.

The Honeywell Pro-Watch Video Management System (VMS) leverages deep-learning artificial intelligence (AI) video analytics for the detection of non-compliance of safety protocols at the airport.