In these challenging economic times, it’s more important than ever to be aware that, historically, air travel has always been a growth industry. True – it may not be growing at this very moment. But, rest assured it will bounce back and continue to grow.
You need only look at history to be reminded of the industry’s resiliency – take the SARS outbreak and the profound impacts of 9/11. While things slowed down for a little while, demand rebounded and the industry continued on its upward trajectory.
This recession isn’t to be taken lightly. But even though the airline industry is evolving, demand for air travel will rebound and increase. When it does, we will need the infrastructure in place to meet that future demand.
That’s why, in July, San Diego International Airport broke ground on a $1 billion improvement project called The Green Build. The project, the largest in the airport’s history, includes 10 new jet gates, a dual-level roadway to separate arriving and departing passengers, expanded parking for aircraft, additional security lanes and new restaurant and shopping options.
Still, people wonder: Why are we moving forward with this project? Why during a recession? Isn’t there a better time? Why now?
There’s good reason. An economic downturn is actually a good time for a major capital improvement project.
Due to the economic environment, we’re benefiting from decreased construction costs and increased bargaining power. Bids are coming in lower, as companies need the work. It’s a win-win situation – the airport is saving money while giving business to local companies and providing much-needed jobs for area residents. We estimate that at peak construction, The Green Build will provide approximately 1,000 construction-related jobs.
But starting construction now is about more than just saving money. It is absolutely critical that we start now because of the long-term nature of airport projects. It has taken almost ten years to plan, entitle and begin construction of The Green Build. That is not unusual for major infrastructure projects of this nature. The bottom line is, we can’t wait for constantly long lines, overcrowded terminals and delayed flights before we decide to move forward with improvements. We need to think ahead, be proactive and maintain high levels of customer service for the traveling public.