At that point, SAN will undoubtedly become slot constrained with no more growth permissible. It was mentioned during a presentation at the meeting that 40M pax per year is undoubtedly about the max SAN (at Lindbergh Field) will ever see. We should exceed 25M for 2019's total.
Which is a lot more than the 23M-26M that was the working number in the 2006 vote. But 40M may be less than a dozen years away.
Long before then a workable solution with TIJ should be worked out. I think that a US pre-clearance facility is the most practical solution. The lower costs of flying from TIJ should be used to offset the cost of the CBX.
Frontier Airlines given it's code share with Volaris ( 2.3% of SAN traffic & 6 year round destinations + 1 summer) should be the first to go to TIJ
Austin, Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix, San Antonio, Cincinnati*
You’re living on another planet if you think ultra-low cost passengers are going to get passports to fly out of TIJ on Frontier or any other airline to a domestic US airport (pre-clear or not), or that Frontier is going to leave SAN to operate at TIJ with the added cost and increased turn time (lost aircraft utilization) associated with a US carrier on foreign soil.
We're going to find out if San Diegans are willing to cross the border for cheaper international
flights in late 2022 or early 2023. They've already started constructing a new building at TIJ that I've mentioned before in this thread. Norwegian may consider the option and act upon it just like Hainan did.
But in a presentation dated November 2018, it seemed liked GAP, who owns the airport there, is planning a future terminal C building attached by a long hallway to the building under construction that could possibly
be used for connecting flights into the US. In theory this future terminal C could have US immigration preclearance staff operating on Mexican soil (as in Canada). I'm sure GAP would attempt to set that up so incoming international flights can have on-ward connecting flights to US destinations with no Mexican customs or immigration check.
It would also be built close to the already existing FedEX cargo building in operation there. I don't know if or how the FedEX flights from TIJ to Memphis are being checked. I imagine that FedEx would want some kind of US preclearance? I'm also imagining that if US officials were present at TIJ airport checking cargo flights they could also check regular airline passengers?
I would agree with your "not-going-to-happen" view if things weren't already happening at TIJ. Examples: FedEX cargo, Hainan flights from China, demolition&construction work, architectural renderings, and stated goals by CBX and GAP representatives.
If San Diego chooses to not build a new international airport ever, isn't good that "life found a way", to quote Jeff Goldblum in "Jurassic Park", to get passengers over to Europe and Asia in a different way at a cheaper price? Isn't a good thing a company took a super-duper-gigantic
gamble trying to build a cross-border bridge for profit and it made them huuuuge returns? In fact, when I first heard of the CBX idea as a rumor I was 0.00% convinced it could ever be built. Here we are 4 years after the grand opening and they've managed to get something like 4 million people a year to use it with little more than word-of-mouth advertisement.
I admit having Frontier or Southwest Airlines at TIJ is a stretch of the imagination at this point. But it might not be come later this decade. It's something that should be explored as a possibility to relieve pressure on SAN if it's close to capacity.
In theory, I can envision a future set-up working something like this for San Diegans catching a flight to a US destination via TIJ:
-passengers get dropped off at the CBX bridge,
-they walk south into Mexico
-arrival in the in-transit area currently being built
-they're not checked by Mexico immigration or customs 'cause they choose not to leave the secure area and are not officially admitted into Mexico
-they walk east in a long, secured hallway to a future terminal C
-they get some some kind of US pre-clearance there just like in places in Canada
-they catch a flight to a US destination (on a Mexican carrier like Volaris much more likely than Frontier)