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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


San Diego County Regional Airport Authority

May 13, 2013

“It’s clear to us we are a global city,” said City of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner as he kicked off a press conference and town hall on May 13. Its focus was the need for the San Diego region to increase export activity in order to grow jobs and economic prosperity. It may be clear to San Diego, but it might not be clear to the rest of the world. He's out to change that perception and at the same time create more of the middle class jobs that were once the backbone of the San Diego economy. "We have not fulfilled our potential," he said, adding that we have the political will to change.

Each speaker commented on the findings of a market assessment that was the catalyst for the gathering. The market assessment is the first key step in the Brookings Metropolitan Export Initiative, a program focused on helping eight regions create collaborations from the ground up to design and implement customized metropolitan export plans.

City of San Diego City Councilman Mark Kersey pointed out that San Diego has lots of advantages other areas don’t have, such as our technology sectors.

Michael Masserman, from the U.S. International Trade Administration came to offer his agency’s support which includes opening markets for exports and entering into trade agreements to facilitate exports. “Jobs in export-oriented companies pay 15 – 20 percent higher wages that their non-exporting counterparts,” said Masserman.

Elliott Hirshman, president of San Diego State University, discussed the importance of international engagement in educating the workforce of the future citing a substantial increase in international programs at San Diego State.

Peter Cowhey, dean of the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at UC San Diego, presented highlights from the market assessment. Cowhey, along with two of his graduate students, was responsible for conducting the survey and collecting the data for the market assessment. “San Diego is punching well below our weight,” said Cowhey, pointing out that although San Diego is the country’s 17th largest metropolitan economy, we rank only 55th when examining exports as a share of our regional economic output.

The market assessment revealed that San Diego’s exporters see a need for infrastructure development in three major areas: port, airport and cyber infrastructure.

Bob Nelson, vice chair of the board of port commissioners, agreed that if the region is going to see growth in exports then we need to see growth in infrastructure. The Port has in the works infrastructure improvements worth close to $100 million.

Robert Gleason, board chair of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, said that San Diego International Airport has a critical role to play in increasing export activity. That includes additional international non-stop service and increasing cargo capacity. An added benefit of more international visitors (which are also considered exports) is that they typically spend almost double what a domestic visitor spends on a trip.

Steven Weathers, president and CEO of World Trade Center San Diego, an organization that provides direct services to exporting companies, said that many people ask him, “What’s the big goal?” His answer? “Job creation – sustainable, diverse, job creation.”

photo left to right: Mayor Bob Filner, City Councilman Mark Kersey, Michael Masserman, Peter Cowhey, Bob Nelson, Robert Gleason, Elliot Hirshman, Steven Weathers

Access the full report: San Diego Metropolitan Export Initiative Market Assessment

Media coverage 

Region needs to boost exporting, report saysU-T San Diego
Local leaders push boosting trade, The Daily Transcript  
San Diego could be exporting more, Brookings Institution reports, KPBS

 

 
 

                                  

January 31, 2013

San Diego's nonstop flight to Tokyo has resumed service with an alternate aircraft, a Boeing 777. Japan Airlines (JAL) has announced they are resuming Mon/Wed/Fri service through February 17.  Schedules thereafter will be announced as soon as they are confirmed. Additional information can be found at http://www.ar.jal.com/arl/cms/contents/en/special_news_003178.html.

 

 

December 3, 2012


From left to right: Cathy Berg, Regional Vice President Passenger Sales Western United States, American Airlines; Jun Niimi, Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles; Yoshiharu Ueki, Representative Director/President, Japan Airlines; Thella Bowens, President/CEO,  San Diego County Regional Airport Authority; Hiroyuki Hioka, Senior Vice President-The Americas, Japan Airlines

It was a day of firsts at San Diego International Airport (SDIA) on Sunday, December 2, as Japan Airlines (JAL) flight #66 arrived from Tokyo and flight #65 departed. It was also the first commercial flight out of SDIA for the highly touted Boeing 787 Dreamliner. "Let's think of all the real people who will benefit from this flight," said Thella Bowens, President and CEO of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, adding that half a million people from San Diego travel to Asia every year. Bowens described the Dreamliner as a dream aircraft for the San Diego market because it is the first aircraft with the size, airfield performance and range to make the nonstop oceanic flight viable.

San Diego Regional EDC worked with the Airport Authority and other organizations to make the case for the San Diego-Tokyo flight. Before now, business executives had to fly to Los Angeles, San Francisco or other west coast cities to connect to Asia. The new Tokyo service will link directly to 15 other destinations in Asia.

Bob Filner, new Mayor of the City of San Diego, attended the press conference held prior to the arrival of the inbound flight and reiterated his desire to strengthen San Diego's image as an international center. "I want to make San Diego a far more cosmopolitan center," said Filner. He also recognized the economic benefits the new flight will bring to the San Diego region.

The ceremonies that accompanied the launch of the new service were marked by elegant protocol and buoyant enthusiasm. White gloved dignitaries simultaneously cut a ribbon with multiple pairs of large gold scissors. JAL President Yoshiharu Ueki, invoking the Spirit of St. Louis (which was built in San Diego), said "San Diego is so connected to aviation history. Time has brought us more innovation in the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner and it has special meaning to me to take this historic journey with you."

The flight will operate four times weekly (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday) until March 2, 2013, when it becomes a daily flight. The current configuration for the San Diego flight consists of 42 business-class seats and 144 economy seats.