A Message from Our Board Chair and President/CEO

Welcome to the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority’s fourth Sustainability Report, published this year in digital format only. This report generally highlights our activities and accomplishments since the last report in 2013. As before, we have used the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) as a tool to guide the report’s development.


At San Diego International Airport (SAN), we’ve defined sustainability as “building an enduring and resilient enterprise by effectively managing our financial, social and environmental risks, obligations and opportunities.”


Sustainability is hardly a new concept. On some level, all airports practice sustainability these days. The challenge we face is not just practicing sustainability, it’s ingraining it into the very DNA of our organizational culture.


Therefore, it’s not an accident that the structure of this Sustainability Report mirrors our organization. This report is divided into five key sections: Community, Customer, Employee, Financial and Operational. These areas align with our five organizational strategies of the same names.


You’ll notice right away that sustainability is not one of those strategies. Rather, it’s an integral part of all of them. Because to us, sustainability can mean a lot of different things.


Sustainability means undertaking significant quality-of-life improvements for the community and the region, such as reducing traffic congestion and air emissions.


It means constantly fine-tuning our financial strategy to enhance the airport’s position while making sure we offer as many nonstop flights as possible to places you want to go.


It means being open to new services for our customers, such as providing opportunities in the sharing economy and making sure the region we love is reflected in the concessions we offer.


It means seeking out diverse pools of employee talent, such as our veterans, while creating opportunities for more students to learn about airport careers.


And, finally, it means looking for innovative ways to incorporate clean energy and reuse water while continuing to operate our airport in a safe, secure and efficient manner.


How did we create an organization where thinking like this is so highly valued?


Two ways: From the top down, and from the bottom up.


It’s the board’s job to set policy and communicate its vision to staff. And our staff is encouraged to work collaboratively across departments in innovative and creative ways to carry out that policy. In this paradigm, great ideas emerge organically – and sustainably – from all levels of the organization.


We invite you to read this report with a critical eye and let us know how we’re doing. We know there are challenges ahead, especially related to how we continue to meet regional air travel demand over the next 20 years through our Airport Development Plan, given our constrained 661 acre site. But these challenges can also serve as opportunities for innovation and new partnerships.


How we approach these challenges and opportunities will go a long way toward determining our sustainable future – not just for San Diego International Airport, but for the entire San Diego region.




Robert H. Gleason                                                                                                      Thella F. Bowens

Board Chair                                                                                                                    President/CEO

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