County Approves a Plan for John Wayne Airport General Aviation Improvement Program

Santa Ana, Calif. (June 26, 2019) – Yesterday the Orange County Board of Supervisors approved a plan for improvements to the General Aviation (GA) facilities at John Wayne Airport (JWA). On a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and a project proposal put forward by Vice Chair Michelle Steel, Second District Supervisor, limiting space for medium and large general aviation jet aircraft, and dedicating space exclusively for light GA aircraft.

“The Board of Supervisors carefully considered feedback we’ve received from members of the public, and I’m pleased that we approved this plan that will allow JWA to move forward with improvements while balancing the needs of our community,” said Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett, Fifth District Supervisor.

The proposed project will include two full-service and one limited-service Fixed Base Operator (FBO), limits medium and large general aviation jet aircraft to 25.6 acres on John Wayne Airport property, designates 35.6 acres exclusively for small general aviation aircraft and allows an allows an international general aviation facility to operate within one of the full-service FBOs between the hours of 5 a.m. and midnight.

“I have worked closely with the City of Newport Beach, community groups and individual residents, to prepare this proposal which creates land restrictions to preserve small general aviation at the airport,” said Vice Chair Steel. “I am grateful to the Board of Supervisors for supporting my proposal, and to Mayor Diane Dixon and Councilman Jeff Herdman of Newport Beach, and representatives of the Airport Working Group, SPON, and So-Cal Pilots Association, for speaking in support of this compromise. I will continue to work with residents, cities and community groups through the RFP process to preserve the mix of general aviation at John Wayne Airport.”

The Airport will submit to the Board for approval a Request for Proposal (RFP) soliciting bids from fullservice and limited-service FBOs for long term leases to construct passenger terminals, hangars, maintenance facilities and tie-down spaces for light GA aircraft on Airport property. Full-service FBOs may opt to include an international general aviation facility within their passenger terminal, staffed by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and constructed in accordance with CBP guidelines.

“Maximizing our resources and making sure that we use our facilities economically and efficiently is key to the future success of our County,” said Supervisor Andrew Do, First District. “The General Aviation Improvement Program enables JWA to accomplish this, ensuring that the Airport will operate effectively for years to come.”

In 2016 the Airport conducted a comprehensive study of the GA facilities at JWA, including an analysis of the existing facilities’ compliance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements. The General Aviation Improvement Program (GAIP) objectives include enhancing safe and secure operations; utilizing limited land area efficiently; and enhancing compatibility between general aviation and commercial aircraft.

“Improvements at JWA are necessary to not only comply with FAA requirements but also to address the changes in general aviation that have taken place since 1990 – when general aviation services and facilities at JWA were last studied,” said Supervisor Donald P. Wagner, Third District.

Existing GA facilities at JWA include two-full service FBOs and two limited-service FBOs. The Airport is home base for nearly 500 private general aviation aircraft, including single- and multi-engine aircraft, corporate jets and helicopters. There are 379 County tie-down and hangar spaces for general aviation; fixed base operators (FBOs) provide additional tie-down and hangar spaces, as well as other aviation services.

“JWA supports a tremendous amount of general aviation operations each year, proudly supporting aircraft ranging from vintage biplanes to helicopters to private jets,” said Supervisor Doug Chaffee, Fourth District.

Click here for existing GA facilities.

Click here for the proposed project and the project map.