San Diego International Airport Terminal 1 Expansion Plans - ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Joe Deegen, San Diego Reader reporter, once again does a very good job capturing many key points in a very limited amount of space. One quick question before I get into some details. If you were caught by the police on a DUI, would you go to court without an attorney representing you? Not likely! But, this is exactly what happens on virtually every issue related to the airport, whether it is noise or particulate pollution or spending hundreds of millions of dollars unnecessarily on the Terminal 1 expansion. The Airport Authority Noise Abatement Office brings on expert consultants, whose statements and position, by definition, are accepted by its customer over residents living in pollution impacted communities. The only recourse residents have is to go to the press to get their words out. And even here in San Diego, no one with the power to intervene is listening. No Congressman Scott Peters. No Mayor Faulconer. No Councilmember Jen Campbell.

Below there are four items that may be of interest to you as a resident of Mission Beach:

1) A recent article in the Reader that provides an overview of the issues surrounding the Lindbergh Field expansion.

2) The title page and 23 questions that were submitted to the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority in response to the second DEIR published on the terminal one expansion.

3) a recent summary of the noise complaints statistics for 92109, of which virtually all are from Mission Beach.

4) The output from a sleep monitor showing the disruptions in sleep related to ambient noise measured in the bedroom. This information is quite important, because it clearly shows that there is a correlation between sleep disruption and aircraft noise over Mission Beach. Disruption can and will take someone out of a deep sleep, which has been shown to have health consequences. The fact that Mission Beach is not in the 65 dB CNEL does not mean that our residents should not qualify for noise abatement protection.


San Diego International Airport,



Prepared by: G Wonacott[1], 731 Avalon Court, San Diego (Mission Beach Community), CA 92109

Prepared for: SDCRAA, Attention Ted Anasis, P.O. Box 82776, San Diego, CA 92138-2776

October 30, 2019

[1] This document must be officially approved by the MBTC Board before it can be released with the MBTC name on it (Chair, Airport Noise Committee, Mission Beach Town Council)

I. Summary of Questions:

1. The number of operations is a function of enplanements (economy), number of passengers per aircraft, load factor. There is no evidence that supports larger aircraft being used at SDIA. Nor is there evidence of a load factor of 0.9. To the contrary, load factors at most constrained airports are lower. What is the basis for your assumption of a load factor of 0.9?

2. Why did you not perform sensitivity studies on the key metrics used to calculate operations, as this would have allowed you to focus on accuracy for these variables?

3. Why did you use hourly increments to calculate the number of operations per hour, when it is obvious from observations that the runway is well over capacity at 6:30 am, for example. Hourly operations in half hour increments provides far greater accuracy.

4. The operations per hour data suggests that it will be difficult to fill in maximum number of operations per hour for a 17-hour day. What assumption did you make regarding the density of the operations per hour value?

5. Your assumption of 50 operations per hour for a 17-hour day seems very optimistic given the FAA assumes 48 for all weather conditions. How do you justify the higher number?

6. The correct methodology spelled out by the FAA to determine airport hourly capacity uses an interaction diagram. Did you use this approach, and if not, why not?

7. In different sections, you make assumptions that larger aircraft will become more common in the future aircraft mix at SDIA, but then sometimes you state that the primary aircraft type will be narrow body. Which is it? Also, once capacity is reached, how do you know what direction the airport will go given that SDIA is a spoke airport and dependent on what happens at LAX, Sky Harbor, SFO?

8. The airport is projected to reach capacity in the 2024-time period. Why was there not more analysis of delays, which are the primary symptoms that foretell capacity, as was done in the 2004 study by SH&E?

9. The constrained enplaned projection seems very optimistic at 2035 compared to the capacity projection in 2024. How do you justify this delay with a sudden flattening of the constrained enplanements, given that there is no evidence that aircraft size (number of passengers) and load factor will increase?

10. It would seem to make sense given how close the airport is to capacity to establish regular assessments of on-runway (taxi-way) delays, number of aircraft, etc. metrics. Why have you not made this recommendation?

11. It appears that the airport will reach capacity two years after the Terminal 1 expansion is completed. What then is the basis for spending such a large amount of money ($3-4B), if it does not increase the capacity of the airport?

12. The plan is to add 11 new gates at terminal 1. The addition of these gates does not increase airport capacity, but could accelerate the airport reaching capacity for two years before it reaches capacity. There does not seem to be any rationale for including the new gates? What is the primary reason for adding the gates?

13. One concern is that the gates are being added as justification for moving the curfew from 6:30 am to 5 am. Which organization or government body makes the decision regarding the curfew start and stop times?

14. According to data in the public domain, about 42 percent of the arrivals into SDIA are from destinations that are less than 500 miles. Also, about fifty percent of these arrivals depart for destinations that are again less than 500 miles. Why has the SDCRAA not included in the future planning setting up commuter operations using regional jets that would move 150-200 departures daily from SDIA?

15. The Airport Authority consultant has reported substantial increases in the size of the 65 dB CNEL and population living within this contour (about 13 percent by 2026). According to a FAA AEM analysis, the size of the 65 CNEL could be reduced by 18 percent by transitioning all Stage 3 aircraft departing post 10 pm to Stage 4 or 5 aircraft. While some Airport Authority personnel claim that this would be interference with Interstate Commerce; the Airport Authority has violated the same interference with Interstate Commerce in monumental terms by allowing the airport to reach capacity. How can interference with interstate commerce be a defense in this context?

16. The Airport Authority consultants on the TAC and CAC have used their superior knowledge of aeronautics to discourage many if not all of the 22 recommendations made in 2017 by the ANAC Subcommittee. How can this be justified in light of the substantial projected increases in noise between now and when airport capacity is reached?

17. Flighttrack data has shown that for decades aircraft have departed on multiple tracks, 290 versus PEBEL 6 at 293 (3 degrees difference) and 290 versus PADRZ at 295 degrees (5 degrees difference). So, how can the 15-degree rule be used to disqualify moving PADRZ south so that it coincides with the 290-nighttime departure heading up the channel between Dog Beach and the SMB jetty?

18. Given the noise and nuisance impact projected in the DEIR report, why should the Airport Authority move forward with the project without first seeing the results of the Congress directed studies to the FAA on health consequences of aircraft noise and air pollution, Stage 3 phase out, the use and applicability of the SENL 65 that spreads the noise over 24 hours for the San Diego area, and better definition of how communities will participate in land use conversations around the airport?

19. Why does the 15-degree rule apply given there is one runway which establishes by definition substantial spacing between all aircraft?

20. Even if there is an effort to use the 15-degree rule (10-degree approved at Atlanta Hartsfield Airport), this requirement is satisfied, since the apex for the right turn is about 0.75 miles from the end of the runway. Why is this not considered?

21. It appears that since capacity will be reached two years after Terminal One is completed. Further, the DEIR report shows a substantial increase in the delta number of enplanements between constrained and unconstrained after capacity is reached. And when this is factored into the 2018 Airport Authority financial benefits study to the San Diego region, it appears that losses could be anywhere from $2.5B to $5B in the five to ten years beyond 2024. Why then is the SDCRAA not first addressing the capacity issue before investing $3-4B to enhance the passenger experience at Terminal 1.

Airnoise complaints summary for November 2019

Sleep disruption data showing correlation between ambient aircraft noise and movement or change in pulse rate.

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