Updated: Feb 19, 2020
Lindbergh Field has seen a dramatic increase in the number of operations since 2012, and is now approaching capacity. In fact, in 2004, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority (SDCRAA), that includes its administration departments (Airport Authority), funded a study to project future number of operations, delays associated with the one-runway, capacity, and constrained conditions. That 2004 report was followed by a 2006 referendum on Lindbergh Field with a potential movement to Mira Mar. This referendum was voted down by the City and County, and therefore, it has been assumed that Lindbergh (SDIA) would be the permanent primary airport serving the county now and into the future. In my view, that decision to have the voters make that choice demonstrated the worst kind of failure in leadership.
Now, in 2020, it is obvious that if Lindbergh is to be the airport for all time, then it was reasonable for the Airport Planning Department to propose an upgrade to Terminal 1. However, the Planning Department also proposed adding 11 new gates to Terminal 1, and this does not seem reasonable. The projected $3-4 B project shows a completion date in 2023, and likely is really farther out if the scheduling was to be made public. At the same time, it is very likely that the one-runway airport will be at capacity at about the same time or soon after, which begs the question WHY? The only reasonable answer is that the Airport Authority in collaboration with the FAA intend to eliminate the curfew. More on this later.
Two years ago, the Airport Authority distributed their first version of a DEIR for review. There were comments back both from residents that focused on noise and pollution issues and government institutions that focused on transportation issues outside of the airport. However, none of the government institutions showed any concern for the capacity issues or increased noise on residents surrounding the airport. The one issue that many inputs included was the very low projected current and future numbers of operations.
The Airport Authority agreed to review and amend their projected number of operations that were included in the second DEIR version. But, the second version left many issues unanswered and or contained a substantial number of flaws. Several community groups submitted comments expressing specific concerns. The MBTC input included 23 questions and demonstrated using data numerous flaws. The short story is that the Airport Authority Planning Department came back rapidly dismissing virtually all of the comments and moving forward to move the EIR before the SDCRAA Board for final consideration. It was passed unanimously.
The community activists communicated with an outcome that the only way to secure any noise and or pollution approaches from the Airport Authority is via a lawsuit. The activists from La Jolla contacted an environmental attorney and determined that a CEQA challenge would cost about $150,000. Concurrence with the legal approach was obtained from Mission Beach, Ocean Beach and Pt. Loma, and so the attorneys move forward and submitted the petition for writ of mandate to the Superior Court.
There is a good summary article in the La Jolla Light that is referenced below: http://enewspaper.lajollalight.com/html5/desktop/production/default.aspx?pubid=ccfa8a4e-30d9-4f6c-a77a-e822b4e06827. In addition, a GoFundMe has been set up to collect funds to pay for the attorney. Go to: gofundme.com/f/quiet-skies-san-diego-ceqa-challenge Any amount would be appreciated.
In the image above, the projected line for a fully constrained airport is grossly optimistic as it assumes that all of the airlines will change to larger aircraft and put them into San Diego, even though the majority of SDIA operations are regional, and assumed a load factor of 0.9, which is unheard of at any of the airports.