San Francisco International Airport

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Address and Location on Map

San Francisco, CA 94128, USA

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AboutSan Francisco International Airport

San Francisco International Airport is located to the south of California, United States of America. It is a major gateway to Europe and Asia. It has flights throughout North America. It the largest airport in California and 2nd busiest airport in California. In 2017, it was the 7th busiest airport in the United States and 24th busiest in the world by passenger count. Also known as SFO is owned and policed by City and County San Francisco.

On March 15, 1927, City and County leased a piece of land as a temporary and experimental airport. On May 7, 1927, it declared officially as an airport officially named the Mills Field Municipal Airport of San Francisco. The earliest scheduled carriers of the airport were Western Air Express, Maddox Airlines, and Century Pacific Lines. United Airlines was found in 1934, and it became the key airline of the airport. United airlines began its operations in 1937 towards New York and Los Angeles. A new passenger terminal was opened in 1937.  According to the March 1939 Official Aviation Guide, there were 18 airline operations at the airport out of which 17 were carried out by United Airlines. The name of this Airport was changed to San Francisco Airport in 1931. However, international was added the World War II. During World War II, this airport was used as Coast Guard base and Army Air Corps training and staging base. The first international carrier at the airport was jointly operated by Australian National Airways and British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines.

The first domestic non-stop to United States East were flown by United Airlines with Douglas DC-7 in 1954. The airport’s new terminal was opened on August 27, 1954. The terminal became the Central Terminal. However, South and East Terminals were heavily rebuilt in 1984.

The significance of the airport

In 2015, SFO directly announced more than 7.8 million USD in business activity and 39,000 direct new jobs. It also boosts the local businesses that depend directly on local air services, for example, cargo and mailing. SFO contributed almost 34.6 billion USD with 158,400 jobs to Bay Area economies. In 2016, the International Trade Administration, a department of commerce, reported that San Francisco has the highest growth rate of international passenger traffic. According to the statistics, the San Francisco Airport report a growth of 9% in international travelers. San Francisco Airport exceeded 10% growth rate in 2016. The direct and in-direct spin-off activities raise the total economic activities of the region. The impact was nearly 61.7 billion USD in sales, 20.7 billion USD in payroll and 295,300 jobs.  

Airport identification:

official name  San Francisco International Airport
FAA code  SFO
IATA code  SFO

Runway data:

Elevation  4 meters
Number of runways 4
Longest runway length  3618 meters

Nearest Airports

Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco  2 km (kilometers) northwest
Police Pistol Range Heliport  16 km (kilometers) northwest
Half Moon Bay Airport  16 km (kilometers) southwest

Most Flight Routes from these Airport

Airport CodeNumber of flightsFrequency


California is known for its millions of acres of farmland. It leads the United States in agriculture production. California is world famous for three things. The golden gate bridge, Hollywood and the Disney land. The airport plays a vital role in bringing tourists from all around the world. However, A SFO Museum was created in 1980 as the collaboration between the San Francisco Airport Commission and the Fine Arts Museums. It was the first museum in an international airport.


San Francisco announced a new all-time record on January 27, 2017. The Annual traffic record of 53.1 million passengers. The records show a significant rising number for the past decade on a rate of 6.1% on average. It also included a double-digit increase in the rate of international passenger traffic.


The airport has 4 terminals (A, B, C, and D.) and seven concourses with a total of 115 gates. The gates are arranged in alphabetical order in a counterclockwise ring. However, the oldest terminal is terminal 2. Terminal 1, 2 and 3 handle domestic flights. Where terminal 4 being the international terminal of the airport handles all international flights. There are two airside at the San Francisco airport that allows passengers to roam freely between the terminals.

Terminal 1 was known as South terminal. It had boarding area “B” and had 24 gates. Area C which 10 gates. It used to have a third boarding area, A, which was demolished in 2006 because its operations were taken over by the international terminal. Terminal 2 was formerly known as the central terminal. It replaced the boarding area A of terminal 1 in 1983. It was closed for renovations as the current international terminal opened in 2000.

Terminal 3 was formerly known as the North terminal. This terminal has boarding area E with 10 gates and boarding area F with 29 gates. Terminal 3 is used by United Airlines for domestic flights. A solar roof was installed in 2007 to generate ample energy to power all terminal 3 lights in daylight. The international terminal consists of boarding area A and G. The terminal was opened in December 2000. It was built to replace the international operations at terminal 2. It is the largest terminal in entire North America. The International Terminal is the largest earthquake-resistant building in the entire world. Most of the international flights are operated by Star Alliance carriers. There are two main abbreviations for the international terminal that are I and INTL. Mostly, the staff announces it as “T-I” which leads the passengers in the room full of confusion as they misinterpret it as terminal 1.

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