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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego International Airport is about to get bigger as the county approved a $2.6 billion expansion to create a new terminal and thousands of jobs for local workers.

“Sounds fantastic,” traveler Katy Velazquez said. “I’m nervous about what it’s going to be like during the process, about what it’s going to do, about our security line times. But I’m sure it will be great when it’s done.”

Nicole Hall, with the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, said the airport is going to offer 30 more gates.

“We have increased checkpoint lines, so it will make it faster for people getting through checkpoints,” Hall said. “We are going to have more concessions, more restaurants. It will be very light, airy feel.”

More parking as well as roadway improvement to the airport will make the commute quicker, Hall added.

“The airport is a major economic driver for the region and the New T1 (Terminal 1) will make our city more attractive to the millions of people who want to visit and also provide a better travel experience for San Diegans,” said Gil Cabrera, board chair.

The project is also estimated to create thousands of jobs for local workers.  

“We are going to offer as many as 15,000 to 20,000 jobs available for local small businesses,” Hall said.

The plan still has to go through the Federal Aviation Administration’s National Environmental Policy Act, but the airport expects the first 19 gates to be completed by 2025, with the remaining 11 gates done by 2028.

“It’s going to be fantastic,” Velasquez said. “I travel a lot for work and there’s not that many direct flights out of San Diego, so hopefully this will mean more direct flights and easier travel.”

If the plan is approved, airport officials state construction could start as early as next month.