SFO ATADS data, 1991-2014:
Scrollable aerial view at bing.com. (Click to open in a new window).
Airport Narrative (Overview & History)
The seventh busiest commercial airport in the U.S., KSFO is also a major West Coast hub for flights to/from Asia. This has enabled KSFO to maintain traffic levels (and even grow slightly, since 2008), while most other U.S. airports have declined. Passenger operations are dominated by United Airlines.
The airport was started in 1927 and within ten years had become a major facility for the early airlines, providing both domestic airplane and trans-Pacific seaplane service. The runways were constructed by filling vast areas of the Bay, which has added to the high environmental sensitivity of this airport. A massive terminal expansion was completed in 2003, including connection to the BART rail system. There is an ongoing effort to add more flight capacity at KSFO, by filling more of the Bay, so as to lengthen the north-south runways. In the meantime, excess capacity goes unused at the three other major airports serving the Bay Area (Oakland, San Jose and Sacramento), where operations have declined substantially. Here are some figures, from FAA ATADS annual operations (ops) data:
- San Francisco (KSFO): peaked at 450K ops in 1997, declined to 351K ops in 2002, and has recovered to 423K ops in 2012;
- Oakland (KOAK): peaked at 524K ops in 1999, declined 60% to 210K ops in 2012;
- San Jose (KSJC): peaked at 335K ops in 1992, declined 60% to 135K ops in 2012;
- Sacramento (KSMF): peaked at 180K ops in 2007, declined 36% to 116K ops in 2012.