Our Community Strategy

To be a trusted and highly responsive regional agency.


Harbor Drive is an important roadway that not only provides access to SAN but also connects the downtown area with various neighborhoods, numerous tourist destinations and amenities along San Diego Bay. So the ability of Harbor Drive to operate at the best possible service level is critical. That’s why, as San Diego County Regional Airport Authority officials launched the next master planning phase for the airport, including the replacement of Terminal 1, they made proactive efforts to include regional stakeholders.

The next master planning phase is referred to as the Airport Development Plan (ADP). In addition to replacing the 50-year-old Terminal 1 with a more efficient structure to process passengers, the ADP proposes to move most airport-bound traffic off Harbor Drive and onto a new roadway that would be built on airport property, no small feat considering the airport’s constrained 661-acre footprint.

The ADP is currently in the environmental review phase. Because the Airport Authority is committed to being a trusted and responsive community agency, it is continually talking with other public agencies, community groups and neighbors to ensure that plans for development are open and transparent.

Last spring, as directed by the Airport Authority Board, President/CEO Kim Becker brought together elected officials and staff from the Port of San Diego, City of San Diego and San Diego Association of Governments to form the Harbor Drive Mobility Committee. There are two groups associated with this effort – the Policy Committee of decision-makers and the Working Group of technical experts. The purpose of the overall effort is to ensure that the cumulative impacts of all future developments affecting Harbor Drive are considered openly and in close coordination.

The airport does not have planning or operations jurisdiction for North Harbor Drive, which is a city-dedicated street, operated and maintained by the City of San Diego. Further, the airport needs to coordinate on-airport improvements with the other transportation agencies in the region. However, the California Environmental Quality Act requires that any lead agency considering development of a project must consider the cumulative effects of other projects planned in the immediate area. The committee helps facilitate this process.

It is important to note that the Airport Authority has been working for years on other improvements that have helped ease traffic flow on North Harbor Drive and other streets near the airport:

  • In 2016, the new Rental Car Center opened. This moved all rental car operations from sprawling, disparate locations, most of them on Harbor Island, to one centralized location on the north side of the airport. This also removed all rental car traffic from North Harbor Drive. Further, the airport replaced 81 rental car company shuttles with fewer than 40 Airport Authority-owned alternative fuel shuttle buses, which operate mostly on a new on-airport roadway (Admiral Boland Way).
  • After the Rental Car Center opened, a traffic study confirmed that total traffic on eastbound North Harbor Drive decreased by up to 15 percent, and total westbound traffic decreased by up to 7.7 percent.
  • The Airport Authority also added a fourth westbound lane to North Harbor Drive to create more capacity for vehicles accessing the airport.
  • The LEED Gold-certified Receiving and Distribution Center, built in 2012, reduced traffic on North Harbor Drive by centralizing all truck deliveries to one location, with access via the north side of the airport. Airport vehicles now deliver goods to the terminals and other locations via on-airport roadways. This reduced truck trips on North Harbor Drive by 50 to 75 per day.
  • The Airport Authority made key on-airport improvements to Sassafras Street, south of Pacific Highway, on the north side of the airport, including widening the entrance to accommodate turning movements for larger vehicles, adding lanes, improving landscaping, relocating underground utilities, and adding sidewalks and other pedestrian improvements.
  • The Airport Authority also constructed a new entrance to Marine Corp Recruit Depot at Washington Street and Pacific Highway to remove vehicles lining up at the MCRD entrance.

    2017 Snapshot

    The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority strives to be a good neighbor to surrounding communities. In 2017, one of its most important community programs – the Quieter Home Program – gained momentum. The Quieter Home Program provides improvements and retrofits to homes around San Diego International Airport (SAN) to reduce interior sound levels from overhead planes. To date, the Quieter Home Program has treated more than 3,500 homes, providing sound reduction benefits for nearly 9,000 residents.

    The Airport Authority also hosted two cleanup events at Spanish Landing Park, in partnership with I Love A Clean San Diego, as part of Coastal Cleanup Day and Creek to Bay Cleanup Day. In total, more than 110 Authority employees and other volunteers collected approximately 445 pounds of debris while learning about the negative impacts of trash on wildlife and ways to keep San Diego Bay beautiful and healthy.

    One of the Authority's core responsibilities is to serve as the Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC) for San Diego County. The ALUC is responsible for preparing and adopting Airport Land-Use Compatibility Plans (ALUCPs) for 16 public-use and military airports in San Diego County. In 2017, the Airport Authority made substantial progress on drafting an ALUCP for Naval Air Station North Island. With valuable input from a community working group representing the City of Coronado, the draft ALCUP is designed to protect the health and safety of people and property within the vicinity of the naval air station by providing guidance on appropriate land uses while trying to preserve the City of Coronado’s unique character.


    While the Airport Authority works hard to engage communities around SAN to minimize interior noise levels, the Authority must follow strict FAA guidelines, which limits Quieter Home Program eligibility to residences within the 65-decibel (or higher) contour and interior noise levels at or above 45 decibels. Unfortunately, many times it is community members outside the 65-decibel contour that are frustrated with aircraft noise and submit complaints to the Airport Authority. Nonetheless, SAN works tirelessly to address all community members’ concerns about aircraft noise.

    Look Ahead

    For the Quieter Home Program, there are approximately 200 units in the design phase with plans to complete construction by early 2019.

    In terms of land-use planning, the Authority intends to formally adopt a final ALUCP for Naval Air Station North Island and begin public outreach on updating the land-use compatibility plan for six rural airports owned and operated by the County of San Diego: Agua Caliente Springs, Borrego Valley, Fallbrook, Jacumba, Ocotillo and Ramona. ALUC staff are also currently preparing an amendment to the ALUCP for San Diego International Airport to provide better clarity on specific policies.


    2017 Snapshot

    The Authority's Small Business Development program had a very productive year and exceeded the goal of having 8.4% of federally funded projects to include Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs). In total, $157 million local business and $63 million small business worth of large capital improvement projects were implemented at SAN. This achievement was possible due to numerous outreach initiatives to small and underrepresented enterprises, including a Meet the Primes event that was attended by 450 small businesses interested in learning about on-site opportunities, and an Airport Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program (ACDBE) Lunch & Learn that was a networking opportunity for joint venture concessionaires and ACDBEs. In addition, concessionaires were trained on the new web-based Contract and Diversity Management System (powered by B2G), which will assist the Authority with tracking and generating the annual FAA ACDBE participation report.

    During fiscal year 2016, approximately $100 million in services and supplies were procured from local businesses. Authority staff also enrolled 10 new small businesses in its Bonding and Contract Financing Assistance Program in 2016 and continued to work to get them certified as Disadvantaged Business Enterprises and Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprises.


    One of the challenges for the program is the lack of qualified small businesses available to work on projects at SAN, especially due to the volume of large capital projects that are simultaneously happening across the Southern California region. The initiatives highlighted above help the Airport Authority address this growing challenge.

    Look Ahead

    The Small Business Development team will launch a podcast as a new tool for communicating with the small business community, especially those businesses that are not able to come on site.


    In 2017, local businesses received
    $157 million in contracts from the Airport Authority.



    2017 Snapshot

    The Airport Authority diligently responds to community noise complaints, addresses aircraft departure curfew violations, and monitors the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) “NextGen” flight procedure modifications that affect the routes aircraft fly on approach to the airport and immediately after take-off. In 2017, there was a 4% increase of people residing in the 65-decibel contour, which was likely due to the growth in aircraft operations and change in aircraft fleet mix that includes a larger residing area. To further address community noise concerns, the Authority commissioned a “La Jolla Aircraft Noise & Flight Track Analysis” study and facilitated the development of the Airport Noise Advisory Committee (ANAC) recommendations to change departure curfew violations, expand the residential sound attenuation program and modify aircraft flight procedures among other things.


    There are multiple factors that influence how noise is perceived by community members, including weather, ambient noise levels, and awareness of flight procedure, which make it a complex issue for airport operators nationwide. Another challenge is the Authority’s lack of control and influence in regulating the type of aircraft used at SAN that could reduce noise. Nonetheless, through the ANAC, noise monitoring studies and other efforts, the Authority works proactively with the community on the issue.

    Look Ahead

    In 2018, the Airport Authority will continue to implement the Quieter Home Program to attenuate aircraft noise and will launch a FAR Part 150 Noise Compatibility Study to identify new noise mitigation and abatement opportunities, and will further assess the ANAC’s recent recommendations.


    2017 Snapshot

    Compliance with federal, state and local regulations is a cornerstone of efficient and effective airport operations, and the Airport Authority did not receive any regulatory notices of violations in 2017. The Authority has worked especially hard over the last year to improve its generator compliance procedures by adding permit signage onto each unit, tracking any generator issues through the SANTrack environmental management system and conducting multiple staff trainings and mock regulatory inspections. Red lights were also installed on the generators to visually alert airport staff when they are tripped on, allowing the generators to be shut off in a more timely manner. In August 2017, the San Diego Air Pollution Control District (APCD) conducted an unannounced compliance inspection and found that all of SAN’s 18 permitted units were in compliance with the APCD’s strict air quality standards.

    The Airport Authority also successfully hosted a review of SAN’s Quieter Home Program (QHP) by FAA officials from Washington, D.C., as well as the Western-Pacific Region Airports Division and the Los Angeles Airports District Office. The review provided a valuable opportunity for the Airport Authority to showcase the QHP’s alignment with federal program eligibility guidance for residential sound attenuation treatments and related costs.


    There has been a variety of activities at SAN throughout its 90-year history. Of particular note are aerospace manufacturing facilities that were formerly located on the property. As the Airport Authority implements the Airport Development Plan, the airport has begun conducting environmental site assessments.

    Look Ahead

    As part of SAN's Green Build project, the Airport Authority remediated the former 32-acre NTC landfill site. Since then, the Authority still has had to maintain an 'active' landfill permit with the Regional Water Quality Control Board, requiring annual groundwater sampling. In 2018, Airport Authority hopes to receive formal landfill closure status and terminate all related monitoring requirements.