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Airport Director John L. Martin Announces His Retirement

SFO Serves Record 50 Million Passengers in 2015

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Flight Arrivals: Upcoming Service Additions at SFO

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John L. Martin 

Airport Director John L. Martin Announces His Retirement

San Francisco International Airport Director John L. Martin has announced that after 20 years leading the nation’s 7th busiest airport, he will retire in summer 2016.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to guide SFO through massive changes and unprecedented growth for the past two decades,” Director Martin said.  “I’ve had an extraordinary ride with an extraordinary team, and I am proud of all we have accomplished together.  The time has come for me to retire from the City and to move on to other interests.  I am confident SFO is in a strong position to continue as a leader in the aviation industry.  I've been blessed to lead an Airport team that cares deeply about operating an exceptional airport for our passengers, supporting one another as one team and serving our communities.”

“John L. Martin’s leadership at the helm of our nation’s 7th busiest international airport for the last two decades has left a legacy for residents and visitors for generations to come,” Mayor Ed Lee said.  “SFO as our City’s gateway to the world has been transformed under his direction, passion and dedication to being the best, and John L. Martin will truly be missed as Director of San Francisco International Airport.”

A search for SFO’s next airport director will be conducted in coming months.  Mr. Martin will continue in his current role for the foreseeable future, and he will guide the transition to new leadership at SFO.

Mr. Martin was first appointed Airport Director in 1995 by then-San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan and served as SFO’s chief executive under Mayors Willie Brown, Gavin Newsom and current San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee.  Prior to his appointment as director, Mr. Martin served as SFO’s Deputy Airport Director for Business and Finance. In all, he spent 35 years at the Airport.

During the early years, Mr. Martin oversaw the completion of a $3.5 billion capital plan that included construction of the now iconic International Terminal, a BART extension to the Airport, new parking garages, and the AirTrain people mover system.  During the mid-1990s, this was the largest public construction project in the United States.

A series of world events, starting with the September 11, 2001, attacks, precipitated a dramatic 26 percent drop in SFO’s traffic from 40 million passengers per annum in 2000 to around 26 million a few years later just as many of the new facilities were coming on line.

“We responded by cutting costs, finding new sources of non-airline revenue and increasing the number of international and low-cost carriers.  It was a difficult period for SFO,” Mr. Martin said.

Since then, the Airport has added 25 new international carriers and several new low-cost carriers, including the home-basing of Virgin America.  For the past seven years, SFO has been one of the fastest growing airports in the world and is the top concession revenue producer per passenger of any U.S. airport.

“Through it all, we maintained our commitment to providing excellent customer service and a ‘sense of place’ for our guests and to being an excellent steward of the environment,” Mr. Martin said.

SFO continues to plan for the future, with a new $4.4 billion capital project currently under way.  The current plan includes a new air traffic control tower (completed), a new Terminal 1, a new 350-room hotel, and numerous cargo and service-related buildings.

Read more about John. L. Martin's key accomplishments.


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SFO Serves Record 50 Million Passengers in 2015

New all-time annual passenger traffic record set on December 30, 2015

SFO announced a major milestone in its 88-year history, achieving a new all-time passenger traffic record of 50 million annual passengers on December 30, 2015.  This momentous occasion caps a six-year timespan of continuous traffic growth at the Airport.

To commemorate the milestone, SFO partnered with San Francisco’s hometown airline and the only airline headquartered in the Bay Area, Virgin America, to surprise the 50 millionth passenger, Katheryn Castanga, of Arlington, Virginia, who was getting ready to board Virgin America Flight 1 from SFO to Reagan National Airport (DCA) – with two round trip tickets to the U.S.’s 50th state of Hawaii.  Katheryn is a frequent flyer through SFO and an Elevate Silver Status member on the airline.  Festivities for guests traveling through SFO were held at one of Virgin America’s gates in the modern and stylish Terminal 2.

“SFO is the international gateway to our City and is a proven powerful economic engine for the entire Bay Area, creating jobs and revenue throughout local economies,” said Mayor Edwin M. Lee.  “I would like to congratulate SFO on this momentous milestone for serving its 50 millionth passenger this year, setting a new all-time record in the process.  This new passenger traffic record is a win for the entire Bay Area region.”

A July 2015 benchmarking report released by the City and County of San Francisco’s Office of the Controller concluded that SFO led in passenger traffic growth among similar large airports across the United States.  The report, prepared by the City Services Auditor, compared SFO to 12 other peer airports across the nation, including Chicago O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, New York-JFK, LAX, Seattle, and Washington-Dulles.  Findings noted that SFO had experienced the highest rate of passenger enplanement growth, at 33%, from 2007 to 2014.  During the same period, five peer airports experienced a loss in enplanements.


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