The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority celebrated a significant milestone in the construction of the new Terminal 1 at San Diego International Airport. Local officials and business leaders gathered on Wednesday to mark the completion of the steel structure for the first phase of the project.
Gil Cabrera, Airport Authority Board Chair, emphasized the symbolic importance of the event, according to a report in the Times of San Diego. “This ‘topping out’ celebration symbolizes the completion of the New T1 steel framework,” Cabrera said. “But it actually represents more than just the progress being made on the new T1 building, it represents progress toward providing this dynamic binational region with the air transportation infrastructure it needs and deserves.”
The first phase, set to open in late summer 2025, promises 19 gates, a parking plaza, and innovative traffic solutions like an elevated departures roadway and a dedicated arrivals path. Kimberly Becker, the authority’s President and CEO, acknowledged the collaborative efforts behind this achievement, highlighting the contributions of the Airport Authority Board, airline partners, and the Turner-Flatiron joint venture, which is leading the construction efforts on the project.
Significant developments and innovations are underway at San Diego’s new Terminal 1, each contributing to the overall functionality and aesthetics of the airport. A major element is the T1 Parking Plaza, which is approximately 45 percent complete and is on schedule to open in late 2024. This facility will offer 5,200 parking spaces, with 10 percent of these spaces equipped with electric vehicle charging stations, catering to the growing demand for sustainable transportation options.
Another critical infrastructure development is the on-airport access roadway. Currently under construction, this roadway is designed to alleviate traffic congestion by diverting a significant amount of vehicular traffic away from Harbor Drive. This is expected to not only improve access to the airport but also enhance the overall traffic flow in the surrounding areas.
Complementing these developments is the implementation of a dual-level roadway system. This system specifically aims to streamline passenger traffic flow within the airport, separating arriving and departing traffic for increased efficiency and a smoother transit experience for travelers.
Adding to the aesthetic appeal of the new terminal is the “Luminous Wave” facade. This innovative design feature incorporates curved glass panels, creating a visually stunning and functional impact. The panels are designed to control heat, sunlight, and glare, thereby improving the comfort and experience of those inside the building.
The project has engaged approximately 500 construction companies, creating jobs for about 5,000 workers. The terminal will feature 19 new restaurants and retail stores in its first phase.
Scheduled for completion in 2028, the second phase will add 11 gates, bringing the total to 30 in the new T1. This phase will further enhance the airport’s facilities with additional security lanes, seating areas, lounges, and a children’s play area. The project will also integrate site-specific art from six commissioned artists, weaving culture and creativity into the airport’s infrastructure.