Construction started Wednesday at the San Diego International Airport to expand the Federal Inspection Station at Terminal 2.
The expansion is to accommodate the growing number of international passengers, according to April Boling, San Diego Diego International Airport Authority Board Chairman.
In 1990, the airport only saw around 50,000 international passengers.
Now, there are about 300,000 international passengers coming to San Diego a year, Boling told NBC 7.
She said that's expected to increase in the next 10 years.
The number of international flights at the airport will be directly impacted by the new inspection station, as it will be more efficient, Boling added.
“Because how rapidly you can move people through it is going to have an impact on the demand for the use of their air carrier,” she said.
The airport also added non-stop flights to Germany this month, and is planning to add direct flights to Switzerland next month.
“It could become a lot busier and it will depend, in part, on how much the community, internationally and locally, supports the existing flights that we have," Boling added. "But we could well double amount of international travelers that have within the next 10 years.”
International flights also generate about $432 million a year for our local economy.
“International travelers, as they come in to San Diego, spend far more than domestic travelers do," Boling told NBC 7. "And so they are really feeding the economy and feeding jobs here. And the flip side of that is that, it makes it easier for residents of the County of San Diego to actually see loved ones and visit other places.”
Boling added that the new inspection station would also add permanent, good paying jobs in San Diego.