A new 130,000sq ft (12,077m2) International Arrivals facility has opened in San Diego International Airport’s (SAN) Terminal 2. The new facility will allow the airport to accommodate the increase in international passengers resulting from recently added overseas flights. It is expected to improve the processing experience for passengers with reduced wait times and a more welcoming environment and is five times larger than the previous facility. It also increases the number of international gates from three to six.
The facility also features two integrated public artworks. Paths Woven, by artist Aaron T Stephan, is a suspended artwork in the public waiting area that consists of 25 ladders representing the many individual journeys that converge at an airport. In baggage claim visitors will see Carry On by artist Walter Hood, made up of 52 glass panels featuring more than 600 photos contributed by members of the San Diego community and airport staff.
SAN has experienced significant growth in international arrivals in the past quarter-century – from about 50,000 passengers a year in the early 1990s to more than 400,000 a year in 2017. That number is expected continue to grow as more international nonstop flights are added.
“As airlines look to add to their international networks, it is vital we have adequate facilities readily available to compete and attract new air service,” said Kimberly Becker, Airport Authority President/CEO. “With twice the number of international gates, the latest technologies, and an expanded baggage claim and passenger wait area, this new facility ensures we are equipped to provide a world-class experience for international passengers arriving into San Diego.”
The arrivals area also incorporates the newest technologies that are being deployed by US Customs and Border Protection. “We are one of the first in the nation to implement 100 percent biometric or facial recognition technology for arriving international flights,” said Deputy Director of Field Operations for San Diego, Anne Maricich. “Not only will this simplify the arrival process, it is a critical step in our national security mission.”
Expanded international air service has been a key customer service goal for the Airport Authority. It is estimated that nonstop international flights generate approximately $432 million in annual economic impact to the region. In early 2018 SAN offered nonstop flights to and from six countries – Japan, Germany, Switzerland, the UK, Mexico and Canada. The total cost of the project is estimated at $229.4m and the facility will serve British Airways, Edelweiss Air, Japan Airlines, Lufthansa, Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Spirit Airlines.
Picture: A new international arrivals facility has been completed at San Diego International Airport. (San Diego International Airport)