Our mission to provide San Diego with affordable and relevant air service dates back to Southwest’s first-ever California flights to the city in 1982. Through focusing on partnerships that prioritize low costs, we’ve grown to be California’s largest carrier by offering unmatched value and hospitality. We are invested in a solution for our San Diego Customers that hits all those themes.

We appreciate the efforts of the Authority and all the airlines serving SAN to work together to move forward with the Terminal 1 Replacement Project that will dramatically improve the Customer experience. San Diego is an important market for Southwest, as is improving the overall airport experience. This project will make it easier and more convenient for our passengers and employees to access and utilize San Diego International Airport.

At Southwest Airlines, we believe community is more than a place – it is at the heart of what brings us together. We are proud to be a supportive member of the San Diego community contributing over $1 million in community investments, including airline ticket value and cash.

In an ongoing effort to improve the customer experience, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority reached a new 10-year agreement with its airline partners including Southwest Airlines. Under the terms of the agreement, the Airport Authority, with airline support, will have the ability to contribute over a half-billion dollars for FAA-approved transportation, transit and access improvements on and off airport property made in conjunction with regional partner agencies. These improvements could help alleviate traffic congestion and make it easier for everyone to access San Diego International Airport.

“The airport and the airlines provide significant economic impact for the region, and this is just the latest example of that commitment,” said Kim Becker, Airport Authority President and CEO. “I sincerely appreciate the airlines’ willingness to participate in this agreement and pre-approve a significant investment in transportation and transit infrastructure.”

The Airport Authority is currently working with its regional partners, including SANDAG, the City of San Diego, Port of San Diego, the Military, Metropolitan Transit System, Caltrans and North County Transit District on potential transportation and transit connection improvements to the airport. This agreement with the airlines will help provide key funding for those projects.

The contribution of over a half-billion dollars includes:

  • $350 million for on- and potential off-airport public transportation projects in conjunction with regional partner agencies. The agreement allows the Airport Authority to contribute up to this amount when third-parties (such as regional partner agencies) contribute funds for off-airport transportation and transit projects.
  • This funding could also help pay for a new transit station on airport property that could connect to the regional system. Space for a station is included in the current Airport Development Plan.
  • An additional $165 million – funded 100 percent by the Airport Authority and the Airlines – could be used for multimodal mobility corridor improvements contemplated in the Airport Development Plan and, if approved, might include an inbound, on-airport access roadway adjacent to Harbor Drive and a bicycle path.
  • If approved, the roadway would connect Laurel Street directly to the airport, with no traffic lights. This would remove an estimated 45,000 cars per day from Harbor Drive. It also includes a right-of-way for future outbound lanes.
  • Additionally, the multimodal mobility corridor improvements could free up space on Harbor Drive for potential Rapid Bus or light rail transit opportunities that could serve not only the airport, but also Harbor Island redevelopment projects being considered by the Port of San Diego.

This agreement not only ensures that the Airport Authority will have the means to effectively partner with other regional agencies to improve transportation access to the airport, but also supports the Airport Development Plan, which envisions the replacement of Terminal 1 and other improvements.

The replacement of the 50-year-old Terminal 1 with an attractive, modern and more efficient terminal with up to 30 gates is at the center of the proposed Airport Development Plan. The new terminal would include more gate seating, restaurants and shops, as well as additional security checkpoints with more lanes. The terminal would help alleviate the unprecedented air passenger growth San Diego International Airport has experienced over the past five years, and the significant air passenger growth that is forecasted to continue. A new terminal would allow visitors to and from San Diego to have the kind of customer experience both the Airport Authority and airlines want for them.

Ultimately, this new agreement provides the Airport Authority with a platform to move forward. These vital upgrades will allow the airport and airline partners to provide a positive experience for visitors and residents alike through San Diego International Airport.