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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


San Diego's competitiveness takes flight

January 28, 2015

Airport Image with Quote

Businesses have come together. Research has been compiled. Organizations have marching orders. What will San Diego do in order to project its competitiveness and ensure the entire world knows San Diego is the place to live and work? For starters, we’ll make sure people can get to and from the region.

San Diego International Airport (SAN) is one of the region’s premier vehicles lifting the region’s profile and connecting its businesses and people to the globe. With flights to more than eight nonstop international destinations, such as Tokyo through Japan Airlines (JAL) and London through British Airways, San Diego businesses have access to virtually any market around the globe.

The airport has been strategic about its global work. It’s no coincidence that San Diego’s two largest sources of foreign direct investment* are Japan and England, also the location of the region’s two direct intercontinental flights.

How else does the airport increase the region’s global profile and competitiveness?

In 2012 alone, San Diego International Airport created $9.2 billion in annual economic activity and supported nearly 89,750 jobs in the San Diego region. Additionally, SAN served a record 18.7 million passengers during 2014, the highest total seen since 2007.

The airport is a travelers’ first impression of the region as well as their last thoughts. With the newly-completed Terminal 2 “Green Build” expansion, travelers coming through the airport experience the best San Diego has to offer. When your regional airport includes one of the nation's fastest growing breweries and is infused with local cuisine, visitors coming to San Diego understand why so many people want to work and live in the metro region.

As the U.S.’ closest major airport to a downtown urban core, it makes sense that innovative technologies and solutions easily permeate into the daily activity at SAN. As the busiest single runway in the U.S., San Diego has adapted and implemented new and innovative technologies to improve efficiency and ensure reliability as planes arrive and depart from the airport. In 2012, JAL was the first airline to debut the sleek, innovative 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

As Bowens adds, “With the advent of new aircraft models better suited to San Diego’s unique environment, coupled with a new regional export strategy, San Diego is poised to further expand its global reach.”

At San Diego’s Global Summit on March 11, Thella Bowens, president/CEO of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, will join other community leaders to discuss San Diego’s ability to compete on the global runway.

More information on March 11 is available here.

Next week: San Diego is not only home to one of the best universities in the nation, but one of the top 20 universities in the world. So how do we leverage these strengths of having one of the world’s most innovative universities in our global competitiveness plan? More on that, next week.

*Based on jobs in San Diego’s MSA in Foreign-owned establishments


Join us as we formally launch San Diego's Global Summit, a global competitiveness initiative, on March 11. Subscribe here to receive new posts every Wednesday on this topic.