Construction begins on massive Terminal 1 overhaul at San Diego airport

Local

SAN DIEGO — In a ceremonial groundbreaking, both state and local leaders Monday morning celebrated the beginning of construction for an airport overhaul outside San Diego International Airport.

The $3.4 billion Terminal 1 project will be divided into three components: terminals and roadways, airside improvements and a new administration building. It is the biggest project in the airport’s history, costing three times as much as the Terminal 2 redevelopment eight years ago.

At first, there will be a lot of demolition work, including the removal of old, vacant cargo buildings. But, eventually, the new 30-gate facility will have food and retail concessions and a baggage handling system that will be able to process up to 2,000 bags per hour during peak periods. There will also be an outdoor deck off the future food hall that will offer panoramic views of the harbor and downtown skyline among other major upgrades.

“We are thrilled to commemorate this historic day and celebrate the tremendous planning effort that went into reaching this point,” said Gil Cabrera, Airport Authority Board Chair. “I’m proud of the Airport Authority team and their unwavering commitment to bring San Diego a new Terminal 1. The airport is often the first and last impression we get to make as a city, and I can assure you the New T1 will be something that the region can be proud of.” 

Airport Authority President and CEO Kimberly Becker says she wants visitors to have an experience they will remember going through Terminal 1.

“We want our visitors to come back and right now, when they go through Terminal 1, it’s not the best experience,” Becker said. “So when visitors come into San Diego, they get to experience the entire community, visit our hotels and make a true economic impact for our region.”

The first 19 gates are expected to be in use by mid-2025, with the rest of the new Terminal 1 opening in late 2027.

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