San Diego Regional Airport Authority Aims to Educate Public

Friday, November 19, 2004
Need for new airport subject of flier
The North County (CA) Times

SAN DIEGO —- As part of an ongoing outreach campaign, the San Diego Regional Airport Authority has printed more than a million fliers aimed at educating the public about the need for a new regional airport. The fliers were inserted in two daily newspapers this week and will appear in 26 publications altogether through early December, said authority spokeswoman Diana Lucero. Copies will also be available at the airport.

The authority oversees operations at Lindbergh Field, the nation’s busiest single-runway airport. With the airport nearing capacity, the authority is searching for a site for a new airport, which must be submitted to county voters by 2006.

Lindbergh is popular among fliers, who consistently give it high customer satisfaction marks, Lucero said. He said many may not see the need for a new airport—- yet.

“At some point this airport will hit the wall,” Lucero said. The airport is expected to exceed its capacity by 2012. Building a new one or expanding Lindbergh would take 10 to 15 years.

“Our goal is to educate the public about the need for a new airport,” Lucero said. The flier, which cost about $116,000 to print and insert in newspapers, is part of a larger campaign.

This summer, the authority agreed to pay GCS Public Relations of San Diego up to $2.25 million over three years for a public outreach campaign.

The four-page flier is chock-full of statistics on the number of passengers who now use the airport and how the number is expected to rise over the next few decades—- from 16 million this year to 28 million in 2030. It also has a section on airport design concepts and a page about the airport’s significance to the region’s technology sector. On the back is a look at how San Diego’s airport compares to those in other similar markets such as Tampa and St. Louis.

The sites currently under review for a new regional airport are: the March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County; two sites at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station; Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base; North Island Naval Air Station in Coronado; an unspecified location in the Imperial County desert; the existing downtown San Diego airport; a site in Anza-Borrego, 95 miles northeast of the existing airport and a site in Campo, 75 miles east of the airport.

A site in the Cleveland National Forest is being evaluated and could be added to the list.