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    Welcome to the Ambassablog! We're the front-line employee bloggers of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority and participants in the Airport Authority's Goodwill Ambassador Program.

    Here you'll find our continually updated posts about life at historic San Diego International Airport (Lindbergh Field).

    Take a look around, and Email us if there's something you'd like to see added to the Ambassablog or covered in future posts.
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    For questions or information about this blog and other social media tools used by San Diego International Airport, contact:
    Steven Shultz, M.S.
    Deputy Director, Public & Community Relations /
    San Diego County Regional Airport Authority: sshultz@san.org
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The Day a Dream Came True at SDIA

By Guest Ambassablogger Cynthia of the Airport Authority’s Marketing & Communications Division 

You may have heard the news or been one of the eager watchers here at the airport on March 12 when the new Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner flew into town. Boeing brought the aircraft in for a personal visit with those folks who helped build her. If you were not one of those special few, you will have a chance to see the Dreamliner beginning in December, when Japan Airlines starts nonstop flights between San Diego and Tokyo, Japan. Initial service will be four times a week, with daily service scheduled to begin in March 2013.

I watched the 787’s approach from the airports’ Operations Duty Managers Office. Her approach reminded me of watching a graceful ballerina during her final movements of a performance. The pilot touched down with a gentle landing and was rewarded with a round of applause — which I’m sure he was oblivious to. It was truly a treat to watch this aircraft maneuver across the runway and park in her overnight spot at Landmark Aviation.

The 787’s got big windows!

Here are a few specs on the new Dreamliner so you can impress your friends or be prepared for your next round of trivia:

  • The 787-8 will use 20% less fuel than the Boeing 767 it is designed to replace.
  • It has a base passenger configuration of 224 seats, but airlines are configuring the aircraft with as few as 186 seats and as many as 240 seats, depending on the type of service they are providing.
  • Its range is from 5,500 – 7,200 nautical miles, depending on the amount of passengers and cargo carried.
  • It is 186 feet long and 56 feet high with a wingspan of 197’3” and has a cruise speed of Mach 0.85.
  • The 787-8 has a larger sister that will be available in 2015. She has similar fuel economy, is 20 feet longer, seats 259 passengers in a standard configuration and can carry a greater payload over the same distances as the 787-8.

If you’re like me and always wanted to visit Asia, a nonstop flight to Tokyo’s Narita Airport, with its hub operations connecting to many Asian destinations, could be the first step in getting there. It’s time to start saving for the trip. Now where did I put that piggy bank?


San Diego to London – Nonstop!

Michael Irizarry of La Jolla sent us this gorgeous photo he managed to capture of the inaugural British Airways flight 273 coming in for a landing at San Diego International Airport yesterday evening. For more information about the new service see this news release:

British Airways Launches New Daily Non Stop Flights Between San Diego And London Heathrow

O, Say Can You Fly … to BWI?

Some fellow visitors graciously offered to take this picture of me hoisting Old Glory at Fort McHenry - a memento I’ll treasure for the rest of my life.

Regular readers of this blog know that the largest airline by flight and passenger volume at SDIA is Southwest Airlines. But did you know that it has only one non-stop East Coast destination from our airport? The furthest east you can go non-stop with Southwest from San Diego is to Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), roughly a half-hour train ride from our nation’s capital. I recently took the coast-to-coast, five-hour flight to BWI for my first visit ever to Washington, D.C. to see the monuments and museums of America’s heritage.

A shot of the main terminal

Main Terminal at BWI. (Image via Wikipedia.)

One of the most moving experiences of my trip was seeing the original Star-Spangled Banner in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. In case you need a history refresher, our national anthem has its origins in the War of 1812, a “Second War of Independence” which is hardly remembered nearly 200 years later. Our young nation then fought our former colonial ruler, and the British dealt a serious blow to America when its troops sacked the District of Columbia. They burned the White House, the Capitol, and the Library of Congress, forcing American troops to make a decisive stand at Fort McHenry in Baltimore.

Baltimore was then our nation’s third-largest city, and at the head of the Chesapeake Bay it was a port of substantial commerce whose wharves and warehouses the British coveted. On September 13, 1814, the attack came on Fort McHenry, and the Americans dug in, surviving an onslaught of bombardments for 25 solid hours. As the morning sun rose on the 14th, our flag still flew proudly from the fort’s mast, a 30-foot by 42-foot ensign that defiantly waved as weary British forces retreated.

The caption reads "A VIEW of the BOMBARDM...

A VIEW of the BOMBARDMENT of Fort McHenry, near Baltimore, by the British fleet. (Image via Wikipedia.)

“By the dawn’s early light,” a lawyer named Francis Scott Key was being held aboard a British ship, trying to negotiate a release of American prisoners. When he saw the Star-Spangled Banner “ever yet wave” that morning, he was inspired to compose a poem commemorating the American victory. It was an immediate hit, published throughout the country and set to music, eventually becoming our national anthem.

The 15-star, 15-stripe

Early historical photo of the original 'Star-Spangled Banner' which inspired Francis Scott Key, from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division in Washington, D.C. (Image via Wikipedia.)

As fortune would have it, the original flag that served as Key’s muse at Fort McHenry has been restored and rests on display in Washington, D.C. Made by Mary Pickersgill with her family and a servant, it has proven resilient though fragile. So popular was the flag in the 19th century that clippings were made from it as souvenirs, reducing its size and costing it one of its stars. There were 15 stars—and 15 stripes—on the flag, one for each of the states which comprised the Union at that time: the 13 original states plus Vermont and Kentucky. (It was only later decided to keep the flag’s stripes at 13 and instead add only stars for each new state’s admission – to make the 50 stars we now know.)

Seeing the original Star-Spangled Banner inspired me to see Fort McHenry in Baltimore, too, so before I returned home from BWI, I drove the short distance from the airport. Even today Baltimore Harbor is a hotbed of commercial activity, with industrial buildings and container ships framing the scene. From the massive earthen defenses of the fort and the cannonade aimed out into the bay, one can imagine the valiant stand America made with our massive flag flying as a rallying symbol against British might.

A large 15-star and 15-stripe flag still waves proudly from the fort, and the exhibits include Key’s original manuscript with strikeout editing. A stirringly narrated film at the visitor center leaves nary a dry eye in the room, swelling viewers with pride in our troops’ courageous stand. It culminates dramatically in a screen lifting to reveal the flag flying in the fort courtyard, as a rousing rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” plays. I know that I will never feel the same way again in hearing our national anthem; never have I felt more proud to be an American!

Aerial view of the star-shaped Fort McHenry. (Image via National Park Service.)

So inspired was I by my visit that I bought a flag at the gift shop (they sell both the current 50-star flag as well as the 1814 version that flies at the fort). As if acquiring that keepsake alone was not enough, they offer to fly it at the fort and give you a hand-signed certificate commemorating it! My eyes lit up in childlike wonder … how could I refuse that kind of opportunity?

I walked reverently out to the flag mast with the park ranger escort, who insisted that I clip on the flag and hoist it up myself. Some visitors at that moment felt the same patriotic pride and graciously offered to take my camera and photograph the event. Now I have a memento that I’ll treasure for the rest of my life.

So if you’ve ever wondered about whether there’s anything worth seeing in Baltimore, wonder no more.  And, courtesy of Southwest Airlines, you can make it there non-stop from SDIA. If you visit, you just might come back to the West Coast with a heaping helping of American pride “that our flag was still there”!

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Have You Been Naughty or Nice?

That's me (Suzanne) to the left of Santa, and my colleague René to the right.

Now’s the perfect time to ask Santa yourself!

Visit the “Holiday Photos on the Fly” kiosk located just west of the Southwest Airlines ticket counters in Terminal One, lower level.  You can’t miss Jolly ole St. Nick on his red velvet throne, waiting to pose with you and your loved ones for a free holiday picture.

The Airport Authority’s advertising concessionaire, JC Decaux, is facilitating this holiday kiosk, in conjunction with Southwest Airlines and Microsoft Windows 7.

Passengers are greeted by a Windows Elf who explains the process, snaps a picture, and then assists with editing and printing a photo … all for free!  Passengers also have the opportunity to email the photos to themselves, allowing for a cost-effective, eco-friendly holiday greeting distribution to family and friends. You’ll even receive a $20 off coupon on your next Southwest Airlines flight (restrictions apply).

Check out the sample photo above. There I am with my colleague René, manager of the airport’s advertising program. She’s the one that made this all happen. Thanks René!

“Holiday Photos on the Fly” with Mr. Claus … now available in Terminal One from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from December 17 – 20.

Seasons Greetings everyone!

Submitted by Ambassablogger Suzanne, Real Estate Management Department

The British Are Coming!

Nonstop flights between San Diego and Europe. How does that sound?

British Airways announced today that, in cooperation with American Airlines, nonstop service between San Diego International Airport and London Heathrow Airport will start June 1, 2011.

The announcement was made moments ago at a special news conference at Airport Authority headquarters attended by San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, Airport Authority Board Chair Robert Gleason, Airport Authority President/CEO Thella Bowens, and representatives from British Airways and American Airlines.

British Airways, American Airlines and Iberia Airlines recently formed a new partnership, and today’s news is part of a growth strategy resulting from that partnership.

Airport Authority analysis shows there is a significant untapped market of people – from the business and leisure sectors – eager to take advantage of nonstop service between San Diego and London. The new service will be aboard British Airways Boeing 777 aircraft, seven days a week. Passengers may book the flights through British Airways or American Airlines and accumulate miles in either airline’s frequent flier program.

For more information, read the news release.

The return of nonstop service between San Diego and Toronto

Toronto beckons, thanks to new nonstop service from San Diego on Air Canada, starting in June.

Starting in June, Toronto will be just one nonstop flight away from San Diego, thanks to new service from Air Canada.

Click here to read a news release about this exciting new service.

And find out more about the significance of this service to San Diego over at SDIA’s Facebook Fan Page.

All about air cargo

cargo 2

Have you ever sent an overnight delivery of See’s Candy to your mother in Tampa? (Just FYI—my favorites are nuts and chews). How do you think it gets there? If you shipped via FedEx, it likely went through Memphis during the middle of the night. At the FedEx World Hub in Memphis, packages from all over the United States (and the world) get sorted on a nightly basis. In fact, the hub can process nearly 125,000 packages an hour (that is a lot of candy), making it the world’s busiest air cargo airport! FedEx is also the largest employer in Memphis.

The air cargo route between San Diego and Memphis.
The air cargo route between San Diego and Memphis.

Recently Keith from Airport Planning, Richard and Eric from Real Estate and I spent a couple of days in Memphis talking with both FedEx and UPS about their air cargo needs here in San Diego. Currently, all of San Diego International Airport’s cargo carriers park their aircraft on the north side of the airfield. It is a long-term goal of the Airport Authority to build air cargo buildings for processing and sorting of packages, as addressed in both the Airport Master Plan and Destination Lindbergh.

FedEx "feeder aircraft" at SDIA, for carrying smaller cargo shorter distances.

In 2008, there were 6,892 cargo operations (a take-off or a landing) that accounted for 3.4 percent of our total operations. Most of the FedEx operations here are with large Airbus A300 aircraft. Occasionally, FedEx operates some small Cessna Caravans from El Centro to San Diego; these are known as feeder aircraft (pictured here).

Ah ... Memphis.

Ah ... Memphis.

Some of you may remember my post from last year, “Thank ya, thank ya very much,” which discussed our once-daily nonstop service to Memphis. Here are some other sights in Memphis you might consider seeing:

ryanLet me give you a word of warning:  When you visit Memphis during the summer, it can be HOT and HUMID! However, whether you’re sending an overnight package or having some dry-rub BBQ, Memphis is one “attitude adjustment” that shouldn’t be missed.

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