Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (IATA: SJC, ICAO: KSJC, FAA LID: SJC), also known as San Jose International Airport, is a city-owned public airport in San Jose, California, United States. It is named after San Jose native Norman Mineta, former Transportation Secretary in the Cabinet of George W. Bush and Commerce Secretary in the Cabinet of Bill Clinton. The name also recognizes Mineta's service as a councilman for, and mayor of, San Jose.
While San Jose is the largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area, SJC is the San Francisco Bay Area's second-busiest airport by passenger boardings, behind San Francisco International Airport. In addition, the airport is also an official U.S. Customs and Border Protection international port of entry. It is situated three miles northwest of Downtown San Jose near the intersections of U.S. Route 101, Interstate 880, and State Route 87. In 2018, 45.4% of departing or arriving passengers at SJC flew on Southwest Airlines; Alaska Airlines was the second most popular airline with about 17.6% of passengers.
San Jose is the largest city in the Bay Area by both population and area, but SJC is the second-busiest of the three Bay Area airports by passenger count after SFO. SJC served 14.3 million passengers in 2018, surpassing its previous record of 14.2 million passengers set in 2001. SJC has been one of America's fastest-growing major airports for rate of year-over-year seat capacity growth since 2012.SJC is near downtown San Jose (less than 4 miles (6.4 km) from the city center and easily within city limits), unlike SFO and OAK, which are around 14 miles (23 km) and 10 miles (16 km) from their downtowns. The location near downtown San Jose is convenient, but SJC is surrounded by the city and has little room for expansion. The proximity to downtown limits the height of buildings in downtown San Jose, to comply with FAA rules.
Beginnings and expansion
In 1939, Ernie Renzel, a wholesale grocer and future mayor of San Jose, led a group that negotiated an option to buy 483 acres (195 ha) of the Stockton Ranch from the Crocker family, to be the site of San Jose's airport. Renzel led the effort to pass a bond measure to pay for the land in 1940. In 1945, test pilot James M. Nissen leased about 16 acres (6.5 ha) of this land to build a runway, hangar, and office building for a flight school. When the city of San Jose decided to develop a municipal airport, Nissen sold his share of the aviation business and became San Jose's first airport manager. Renzel and Nissen were instrumental in the development of San Jose Municipal Airport over the next few decades, culminating with the 1965 opening of what later became Terminal C.San Jose's first airline flights were Southwest Airways Douglas DC-3s on the multistop run between San Francisco and Los Angeles, starting in 1948. Southwest changed its name to Pacific Air Lines and was the only airline at the airport until 1966, when Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) started flying Lockheed L-188 Electras nonstop from LAX and Boeing 727-100s later that year. SJC's first airline jets were Pacific Air Lines Boeing 727-100 nonstops to LAX earlier in 1966; Pacific 727s flew nonstop to Las Vegas in 1967. Pacific also flew Fairchild F-27s to SJC, and merged with Bonanza Air Lines and West Coast Airlines to form Air West which was renamed Hughes Airwest, continuing at SJC with McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30s before it merged into Republic Airlines (1979-1986). In 1968 United Airlines arrived, with Boeing 727 nonstops from Denver, Chicago and LAX, and Douglas DC-8 nonstops from New York and Baltimore.
The runway which became 12R/30L was 4,500 feet (1,400 m) until about 1962— Brokaw Rd was the northwest boundary of the airport. In 1964 it was 6,312 feet (1,924 m), in 1965 it was 7,787 feet (2,373 m), and a few years later it reached 8,900 feet (2,700 m), where it stayed until around 1991. The two runways are now both 11,000 feet (3,400 m) in length.In the early 1980s, the airport was one of the first in the country to participate in the noise regulation program enacted by the U.S. Congress for delineation of airport noise contours and developing a pilot study of residential sound insulation. This program showed that homes near the airport could be retrofitted cost-effectively to reduce indoor aircraft noise substantially.
1988–2010: Boom and bust
American Airlines opened a hub at San Jose in 1988, using slots it obtained in the buyout of AirCal (formerly Air California) in 1986. In 1990, Terminal A was opened to help accommodate the American operation. By summer 2001, American served Paris, Taipei, and Tokyo nonstop from San Jose and had domestic flights to Austin, Boston, Denver, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Maui, Orange County, Portland, Phoenix, San Diego and Seattle.
After the September 11 attacks and the dot-com bubble burst in 2001, the city lost much of its service. Air Canada dropped its flights to Toronto and Ottawa, Canada, and American Airlines ended its nonstops to Taipei, Vancouver, and Paris. American also canceled service to Miami, St. Louis, Seattle/Tacoma, Portland (OR), Denver, Orange County, CA and Phoenix; the airline's flights to Los Angeles were downgraded to American Eagle regional flights.
In November 2001, the airport was renamed after Norman Y. Mineta, a native of San Jose, its former mayor and congressman, as well as both a former United States Secretary of Commerce and a United States Secretary of Transportation. That same month, the San Jose City Council approved an amended master plan for the airport that called for a three-phase, nine-year expansion plan. The plan, designed by Gensler and The Steinberg Group, called for a single, consolidated "Central Terminal" with 40 gates (four more than present), an international concourse and expanded security areas. The sail-shaped facade would greet up to 17.6 million passengers a year. A people mover system would link the new terminal with VTA light rail and the planned BART station next to the Santa Clara Caltrain station. Cargo facilities would be moved to the east side of the airport. A long term parking garage would be built where the rental car operations are now. A short term parking lot would be built on the site of Terminal C. On December 16, 2003, the San Jose Airport Commission named the airfield after former mayor Ernie Renzel and named the future Central Terminal after James Nissen. In August 2004, the city broke ground on the North Concourse, the first phase of the master plan.
The originally-approved master plan was scaled-back in 2005. The new two-phase plan called for a simplified Terminal B, rather than the initially proposed James Nissen Central Terminal, with a North Concourse to replace the aging Terminal C. In addition, Terminal A would be expanded for additional check-in counters, security checkpoints, and drop-off/pick-up curbside space. The new plan cost $1.3 billion, less than half of the original plan's $3 billion. The first phase was completed on June 30, 2010, when Terminal B and the North Concourse officially opened for service. Planning for Phase II began in early 2018, with 6 additional gates to be added along with a new concourse extension at the south end of Terminal B.Service reductions continued throughout the early 2000s. Alaska Airlines halted its Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas seasonal routes, Horizon Air ended its Tucson service and American Airlines ended its San Luis Obispo and Boston Logan links. Some additions still occurred. In October 2005, Hawaiian Airlines began daily nonstops to Honolulu. In October 2006 American Airlines ended the San Jose–Tokyo–Narita route, San Jose's last nonstop beyond North America and Hawaii.
SJC suffered with many mid-tier airports during the 2008 rise in oil prices as airlines reduced marginal services. The airport lost much of its transcontinental U.S. service in the fall with Continental ending Newark flights, JetBlue ending Boston nonstops, and United ending flights to its Chicago–O'Hare and Washington Dulles hubs. The New York Times reported that between 2007 and 2009, SJC lost 22% of its seat capacity. Frontier Airlines pulled out of SJC in May 2010, citing lack of profitability on its single flight from the airport to Denver, Colorado. In August 2010, Mexicana Airlines also suspended all flights permanently due to bankruptcy.
2010–present: Rebound in service
Beginning in 2010, service expanded at SJC for the first time in several years. Domestic carriers JetBlue Airways and Alaska Airlines added or adjusted service while international carrier Volaris began service in May 2010 with flights to Guadalajara, Mexico. Alaska subsequently expanded offerings to include those in Hawaii and Mexico. The decade saw rapid expansion for the airport- In 2012, Hawaiian Airlines added service to Maui. All Nippon Airways announced it would begin service between San Jose and Tokyo in 2012, restoring the link between the two cities that was lost when American Airlines ended service on the route in 2006. The airline used the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, making San Jose one of the first cities in the United States to see scheduled 787 flights. Due to delivery delays of its 787 aircraft, the airline postponed the launch of the route to early 2013.In 2015 and 2016, several new international flights were launched. Hainan Airlines began nonstop flights from Beijing. British Airways commenced daily Boeing 787 Dreamliner service from London–Heathrow; Air Canada returned, providing flights from Vancouver operated by Air Canada Express. Later in 2017 and 2018, Volaris expanded its offerings to Mexico with service to Morelia, Leon, and Zacatecas. Not all international routes proved successful. Lufthansa connected SJC and Frankfurt on flights operated by Lufthansa CityLine Airbus A340-300 aircraft, Aeromexico started a daily flight to Guadalajara, and later added seasonal service to Mexico City, and Air China introduced Shanghai–Pudong flights with an Airbus A330-200, but Lufthansa and Air China ended service in 2018 while Aeromexico ceased both flights in January 2019, later resuming Guadalajara for the winter holiday season.In the wake of its acquisition of Virgin America, Alaska Airlines grew quickly at Mineta Airport as well as San Francisco International Airport between 2015 and 2018, adding intrastate cities like Orange County, Los Angeles, and San Diego, along with east coast destinations Newark and New York-JFK. Alaska has designated SJC a focus city in several articles when announcing new destinations. Not all routes were successful, however, as service to Eugene, Burbank, and Dallas-Love ended in 2019, with Santa Ana, New York-JFK, and Tucson ending in 2020.
Other domestic carriers have also increased service or returned to the airport. JetBlue restarted flights to Long Beach. Frontier Airlines resumed service to Denver and began flights to Las Vegas. Additional service to Austin, Atlanta, Cincinnati and San Antonio began in the spring of 2018 but did not return the next year. Delta Air Lines has since added service to its New York–JFK and Detroit hubs.
Southwest Airlines greatly expanded service since 2016, connecting almost a dozen new cities across the country to SJC and added flights to Honolulu and Maui in May 2019.Alaska Airlines added flights to Palm Springs, Missoula, Redmond, Spokane and Jackson to SJC in 2020 and 2021.Volaris began a new route to Mexico City in November 2020.
Facilities and aircraft
Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport covers 1,050 acres (420 ha) at an elevation of 62 feet (19 m). It has two active runways: 12L/30R and 12R/30L, each 11,000 by 150 feet (3,353 m × 46 m) asphalt/concrete. The runway separation is less than ideal: 700 feet between centerlines.
In the year ending February 28, 2018 the airport had 181,686 aircraft operations, average 498 per day: 66% airline, 13% air taxi, 20% general aviation and <1% military. 133 aircraft were then based at the airport: 46% single-engine, 12% multi-engine, 39% jet and 3% helicopter.From 1960 to 2010 San Jose State University operated a flight-simulator facility for its aviation program in buildings at the southeast corner of the airport. The university has since moved to the Reid–Hillview Airport about 5 miles southeast.
There are two terminals at the airport, Terminal A, opened in 1990 and Terminal B opened in 2010. The terminals are connected airside. In 2009, the gates at the airport were renumbered in preparation for the addition of Terminal B. Gate A16B at the north end became Gate 1 and Gate A1A at the south end became Gate 16. The airport's first modern terminal building, Terminal C, was opened in 1965 and was closed and demolished in 2010. Its location is now a short term parking lot but will be used for the second phase of Terminal B when that facility is constructed.
Terminal A has 17 gates: 1–7, 7A, and 8-16. (Gate 7A is a ground-level gate for remote parking positions.)
Designed by a team of architects and engineers led by HTB, Inc., Terminal A, and its adjoining parking garage was originally designed and built in 1990 for American Airlines. The overall program was led by a joint team of San Jose Airport and Public Works staff known as the "Airport Development Team". The project was awarded the Public Works Project of the Year by the California Council of Civil Engineers. It underwent extensive renovation and expansion in 2009, with larger ground-level ticketing counters, more curbside parking space, larger security checkpoints, and more concessions. The renovations and expansion were designed by Curtis W. Fentress, FAIA, RIBA of Fentress Architects.
The terminal includes an international arrivals building, which contains Gates 15 and 16. All arrivals from international flights at the airport must clear customs and immigration from this building (except for flights from airports with US border preclearance). Gates 17 and 18 in Terminal B were converted to handle international arrivals in early 2015.
The airport's single lounge was an Admirals Club across from Gate 8 for American Airlines passengers operated as part of its hub operation. Along with the drawdown of the airline's hub, it was closed in September 2010, with the airline citing rising costs and the cutbacks in its flight schedule. Terminal A now has two paid-entry lounges called "The Club at SJC" where passengers can wait for their flights and have access to snacks and beverages. One lounge is near the international gates and the other, opened at the end of 2019, has taken over and renovated part of the former Admirals Club.
Terminal B has 20 gates: 17–36.
The concourse was designed by Gensler and built by Clark Construction, while the Terminal headhouse was designed by Fentress Architects with construction management by Hensel Phelps Construction Co. The terminal officially opened on June 30, 2010. Its design features dramatic daylit spaces, modern art, shared use ticket counters/gates, and chairs with power cords and USB ports on the armrests to charge laptops or handheld devices. The terminal earned a LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2010 in recognition of the airport's significant commitment to environmentally sustainable design and construction.The terminal has two international arrival gates: Gates 17 and 18. All arrivals from international flights at the airport must clear customs and immigration from the International Arrivals building (except for flights from airports with US border preclearance). Gates 17–23 of the new concourse were opened to the public on July 15, 2009. During this time, check-in, security, and baggage claim were all in Terminal A. Gates 24–28 were opened on June 30, 2010, along with Terminal B's pre-security facilities. Southwest Airlines is the primary tenant, along with Alaska Airlines, Hainan Airlines, and British Airways.
In 2017, the airport added two gates, Gates 29 and 30, at the south end of the terminal. Due to the airport's growth in recent years, a new temporary facility was added at the south end of the terminal that would add six additional gates as part of the $58 million project. Gates 31-35 opened June 13, 2019, and Gate 36 opened on November 1, 2019.
Former Terminal C
This terminal was built in 1965, before jet bridges (elevated corridors that connect planes to the terminal) became common at airports. Instead of using jet bridges, Terminal C mostly used airstairs. Some airlines, including Alaska Airlines and SkyWest Airlines, used turbo way ramps. In preparation for the construction of Terminal B, the north end of Terminal C was closed for demolition in December 2007. This part of the terminal was home to gates C14–C16, which housed Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, and Frontier Airlines. The remaining portion of the terminal was reconfigured, including the addition of a new, larger, consolidated security checkpoint. The demolition of the north end occurred in February 2008, clearing the way for construction of Terminal B.In December 2009, United Airlines, Continental Airlines and JetBlue Airways moved to new or reconstructed gates in Terminal A, as the area within Terminal C containing the three airlines' gates was demolished. Other airlines operating at that time within Terminal C remained there until the North Concourse of Terminal B opened in June 2010. The Terminal C baggage claim was closed for demolition on February 2, 2010. This allowed for the completion of the airport's new roadways. The terminal was officially closed on June 30, 2010. The remaining portions of the terminal was torn down in July 2010 and space the terminal occupied now serves as a surface parking lot.
Airlines and destinations
Airline market share
Accidents and incidents
September 14–15, 1975 (1130 P – 130 A) – Continental Airlines – Boeing 727 (jet parked overnight). Fred Salomon, a 24 year-old resident of San Jose, had raped a woman, attempted to rob a store, stolen two vehicles, kidnapped a doctor and four others, then attempted to hijack a Continental Airlines Boeing 727 at what was then called San Jose Municipal Airport. The gunman had taken two airline mechanics hostage, demanding that they start the engines on the aircraft. As it started to roll towards the runway, the tires were shot out by police. Standing in the doorway of the jet with a hostage in front of him, while negotiating with police, the gunman pointed his gun at them and was shot and killed by a police sharpshooter, who was positioned on top of the Main Terminal (Terminal C).
February 17, 1981 – Air California (AirCal) Flight 336 (a Boeing 737-200), flying from San Jose, California to John Wayne Airport, crashed upon initiating a go-around. The crew was cleared for a visual approach to Runway 19R while the controller had cleared another flight to take off from 19R. Upon realizing the mistake, the controller ordered Air California 336 to go around and the other aircraft to abort its takeoff, which it did. The Captain of the landing Air California aircraft delayed the go-around, then retracted the landing gear before a positive rate of climb was achieved. The 737 with its gear up skidded down the runway before coming to rest. A fire started, 4 passengers sustained minor injuries, 91 other passengers and 5 crew exited without incident. The aircraft N468AC was damaged beyond repair and was written off.
April 7, 1994 – FedEx Flight 705, operated by a McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 identified as N306FE, was flying from Memphis International Airport to San Jose and experienced an attempted hijacking by a soon-to-be-terminated employee. Auburn Calloway, the hijacker, planned to use the aircraft for a kamikaze attack on FedEx Corporation Headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee. The crew of Flight 705 were able to fight off Calloway and land the plane safely. This incident was featured on the National Geographic television show, Mayday (Air Crash Investigation or Air Emergency). The episode (Season 3, Episode 4) was titled "Fight for Your Life (Suicide Attack)".
October 25, 1999 – San Jose Police Department McDonnell Douglas 500N helicopter N904PD lost control while entering the traffic pattern at SJC during a maintenance ferry flight. The helicopter crashed into a city street, killing both of the occupants. There were no reported damage or injuries on the ground. The NTSB determined that temporary repairs made in order to ferry the helicopter back to SJC actually made the controllability problem that was intended to be solved worse. Pilot manuals and training for the NOTAR (no tail rotor) helicopter did not provide adequate preparation for the pilot experienced in conventional helicopters to recover from a stuck thruster condition which occurred.
April 21, 2014 – A teenaged boy scaled a security fence and stowed away in the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 767, surviving the five-hour flight to Maui. Congressman Eric Swalwell reiterated his call to scrutinize San Jose Airport's security measures. An airport spokeswoman stated that the airport's security "meets and exceeds all federal requirements" and "our thoughts are prayers are with [the stowaway] and his family." She also noted that "no system is 100 percent and it is possible to scale an airport perimeter fence line, especially under cover of darkness and remain undetected and it appears that's what this teenager did."
Private and corporate aircraft are based on the west side of the airfield off Coleman Avenue.
Signature Flight SupportThe former General Aviation services were located on the south end of what is now runway 30R. Plane spotters and photographers now utilize the space where the San Jose State University Aviation Department was formerly located at the corner of Coleman Avenue and Airport Blvd.
The VTA Route 60 bus connects the airport to the Santa Clara Station for Caltrain, ACE commuter rail services, Amtrak, as well as numerous local buses; to the Metro/Airport Light Rail Station for VTA's light rail service; and to the Milpitas station for BART.The airport is served by various taxi and vehicle for hire companies, and is accessible from highways Interstate 880, and US Route 101 via California State Route 87. There are six parking lots, including Economy Lot 1, Hourly Lots 2, 3, and 5 and Daily Lots 4 and 6. Rental car operations are located at the multi-story CONRAC garage across from Terminal B. A free cellphone waiting area exists across State Route 87 from the airport. Inter-terminal and Economy parking lot busing is provided by the airport at no charge.
The Silicon Valley BART extension is planned to have its terminus at an expansion of the existing Santa Clara train station, where it will serve SJC.