Aviation Activity Forecast

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Aviation Activity Forecast
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The Aviation Activity Forecast provides critical information that allows the Airport Authority to:

  • Plan airport facilities to accommodate passengers, cargo and aircraft operations
  • Estimate when San Diego International Airport will reach capacity
  • Provide data to forecast economic/revenue impacts of the airport

Completed in 2004, the forecast looked at the current and future capacity of the Airport's existing single runway and projected passenger traffic, aircraft operations, cargo activity, general aviation and military operations through the year 2030.

The forecast will be used to address the future air transportation needs of the region and plan for San Diego International Airport's facilities, given the Airport's importance to the regional economy and the potential constraints associated with its facility limitations.

The Airport Authority also plans to examine the capacity of other Airport facilities, such as terminals and roadways, to handle the forecasted growth in passengers and operations.



  • Runway congestion at San Diego International Airport (the Airport) is anticipated when annual aircraft operations reach between 260,000 to 300,000.
  • At 260,000 annual operations - approximately 30% above current levels - occurring between 2015 and 2022, runway capacity will begin to constrain growth.
  • At 300,000 annual operations - occurring between 2021 and 2030 - runway congestion will not allow further growth.
  • While the Airport can accommodate the current number of flights, the single runway does not have enough capacity to handle the forecast growth in aircraft operations. The runway handled 209,362 operations in calendar year 2004.
  • Investment in airport improvements, such as additional gates and taxiway extensions, at the Airport will be required to accommodate these growth levels.


  • Passenger traffic at the Airport is forecast to grow from 17.4 million passengers in 2005 to between 27 million and 33 million in 2030.
  • If additional runway capacity is not provided, San Diego will experience a cumulative loss of at least five million passengers (low growth scenario) and as many as 31 million passengers (high growth scenario) over the forecast period.
  • At 74.4 percent, the Airport has one of the highest load factors - the number of seats filled in an aircraft - among airports in the country. Load factors are projected to increase nationally, but high current load factors will limit future increases at the Airport.


  • Continued strong growth in cargo tonnage is forecast in both the high and low forecast scenarios. In 2005, a total of 152,257 tons of cargo were handled at the Airport. Cargo is projected to grow at an average annual rate of 3.9 percent under the low growth scenario and 4.8 percent under the high growth scenario.
  • Cargo operations are projected to grow slower than cargo tonnage due to increasing aircraft capacity.
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