San Francisco International (SFO)

California’s second busiest airport, first being Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), lays in the bay area of San Mateo County. San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is the fourteenth largest in the United States and the twenty-third largest in the world by measure of passengers that use the airport for their travels. In 2005, over 100 gates at SFO welcomed 32,802,262 passengers. SFO is a major hub for United Airlines, and in the near future Virgin America plans to use it as their main hub.

SFO also houses the San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum. The 11,500 square foot museum is modeled in the Passenger Waiting Room of the 1937 San Francisco Airport Administration Building. The museum’s role of supplying an elaborate display of SFO claiming to be the “Gateway to the Pacific,” and is located in the airport’s International Terminal.

The SFO Airport Commission has signified the conviction that, “in order to prepare for the future, we must preserve the past.” Preparing the future is exactly what they are doing. On May 3, 2007 JetBlue Airways is due to open cross continental flights from SFO to Boston’s Logan International Airport to New York’s JFK airport. JetBlue has already offered this service out of Oakland International Airport and San Jose’s Mineta International Airport, where the business has thrived.

Three Terminals at SFO provide service to nearly 40 airlines that fly to destinations in the United States, Asia, Europe and Australasia. SFO has four runways, longest being 11,870 feet. Depending on the direction of arrival or departure passengers will find that where the runways end, the bay area begins, as water is feet from the asphalt. Only one of the four runways can be used at a time, due to two running laterally to one another at close proximity. While the other two run perpendicular to the first two runways.

The three runways were originally named South, Central and North Terminals, but were renamed Terminals 1, 2 and 3, respectively, once the international terminal opened to the public. The terminals are broken in seven concourses. Four boarding areas – B, C, E and F, are all domestic. Areas – A and G are international concourses, and boarding area D remains unused at this particular time. All flights to Canada depart from domestic terminals, whereas Spirit Airlines use boarding area A in the International Terminal.

History of San Francisco International

First built on a cow pasture in 1927, SFO is originally named after well-known local landowner Ogden L. Mills. The airfield was named Mills Field Municipal Airport, until it was renamed to San Francisco Municipal Airport in 1931. “International” replaced “Municipal” is 1955. In 2001, SFO hit its busiest spell in their history, as the dot-com boom was rising in popularity. At the time SFO was the sixth busiest airport in the world, since then it has fallen substantially. In the future, SFO plans to build the runways further into the bay accommodating for the new class of super-jumbo aircraft. A United Air flight to Frankfurt International Airport begins on April 24, 2007. This is a daily flight using the service of a Boeing 777-200, this will balance United’s current flight which flies between two cities using a Boeing 747-400 aircraft.

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