SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego airport officials broke ground Wednesday on a $229.4 million customs inspection station in Terminal 2 to accommodate the increase in passengers on international flights.
The 130,000-square-foot facility at Lindbergh Field will include a baggage claim area, new technology from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and more room for waiting lines. It will be about five times larger than the current facility.
Preliminary work began a couple of weeks ago as crews conducted site preparation, like walling off the construction area. The facility is due to open in the summer next year.
The driveway that extends west from Terminal 2 is temporarily closed to accommodate the project. The regular exit to downtown and Point Loma, accessible via a left turn away from the terminal, is still available.
Since 1990, the number of passengers arriving at Lindbergh Field annually has grown from 50,000 passengers to more than 300,000 last year.
"The economic impact of international flights is significant -- about $432 million annually for the region," said April Boling, chairwoman of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.
"But beyond the dollars and cents argument is the more personal one," Boling said. "A new Federal Inspection Station will allow us to better accommodate people who travel great distances to visit friends, families and loved ones."
Earlier this month, Germany's Condor Airlines began a nonstop run to Frankfurt, and next month Edelweiss Air will begin flights from San Diego to Zurich. More overseas flights are expected to be added in the future, according to airport officials.
In addition to routes to Mexico and Canada, San Diego's airport also offers a British Airways flight to London and service by Japan Airlines to Tokyo.