San Diego International Airport officials have approved moving forward with plans to build a new $229.47 million federal inspection services facility in Terminal 2 West, slated to open in June 2018.
A statement from the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority said the facility will house U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other international passenger arrival services. The facility will be built by a venture that includes Turner Construction and PCL Construction Services.
Officials said an accelerated construction schedule is necessitated by faster than anticipated growth in international, nonstop air service. The airport currently handles more than 300,000 international arriving passengers annually, and the figure is projected to grow to 400,000 by 2024 and could exceed 650,000 by 2036.
“The new facility will not only help accommodate increased demand, but improve the processing experience for passengers with reduced wait times and a more welcoming environment,” said April Boling, chairman of the airport authority board.
Officials said international air travel in 2018 is anticipated to contribute $432 million in annual economic impact to the region. If all of the projected international routes are added, that impact is estimated to exceed $1 billion by 2037.
According to the San Diego Tourism Authority, international visitors to San Diego stay 30 percent longer and spend 43 percent more than domestic visitors.
Nine airlines currently offer nonstop service to six countries on three continents out of San Diego. British Airways has provided nonstop service to London since 2011 and Japan Air Lines introduced nonstop service to Tokyo in 2013.
More international flights will be added later this year by German carrier Condor Airlines and Swiss airline Edelweiss.
San Diego International Airport in the past five years has completed more than $1 billion in new facilities and renovations.