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Aviation Update Part 2

June 25, 2019


Dear Constituents,



Below is the most recent information on the County’s General Aviation Improvement Program

(GAIP) for John Wayne Airport.


The City of Newport Beach believes that aspects of the GAIP could lead to an increase in

JWA’s general aviation jet arrivals and departures. The Board of Supervisors will again

consider the GAIP on June 25th. This item was continued from the Board’s May 7th meeting

to allow time for a compromise solution proposed by Supervisor Do to be evaluated by County



On June 19, County staff moved forward with the same recommendation presented at the May

7 Board of Supervisor Meeting which asks the Board to approve Alternative 1. The City

opposes Alternative 1 in its original form because it will result in more jets flying over the

community. The city does, however, remain willing to consider the “modified Alternative 1” as

proposed by Supervisor Do, or another reasonable plan that contains project elements that

protect the communities surrounding the airport from additional noise and pollution impacts.

Specifically the City is looking for the Board of Supervisors to adopt a plan based on, or that

contains elements similar to, the principles of Alternative 3 (the City’s preferred Alternative)

which include:

• No more than two (2) full-service Fixed Based Operations

• One (1) new and one (1) existing limited-service Fixed Base Operations

• No General AviationFacility for processing international general aviation passengers

• Increased hangar space for small general aviation planes

• Maintain the current GA mix, meaning, keep the current ratio of light general aviation aircraft

(single and twin engine) and general aviation jets.

John Wayne Airport General Aviation Improvement Program


Questions & Answers

Is this an expansion of the airport itself? The County of Orange is not proposing to

expand the footprint or physical size of the airport. However, the City believes that some of

the changes proposed in the GAIP could increase the number of general aviation jet

operations. Operations are defined as aircraft arrivals to, or departures from, an airport.

What about JetSuiteX? Is there some loophole in how it operates? JetSuiteX operates

out of one of the Fixed Base Operators, the private companies that provide services to the

General Aviation community. Though JetSuiteX operates in what has traditionally been

General Aviation “territory”, due to the nature of its operations, it is considered a

“commercial user” by JWA. As a commercial user, JetSuiteX is subject to the terms of the

1985 JWA Settlement Agreement and subsequent amendments. Meaning, among other

things, its passengers are counted toward the limit on Million Annual Passengers and its

flights must abide by the noise limits and commercial air carrier curfew.

JetSuiteX is the first commercial air carrier that the County Board of Supervisors has

permitted to operate out of a Fixed Base Operator. The Board approved this location in the

spring of 2018. All other commercial air carriers operate out of the main terminal.

How does John Wayne Airport define commercial user? The John Wayne Airport Access

Plan defines commercial user as follows (emphasis added by the City):

“... any person conducting aircraft operations at JWA for the purpose of carrying

passengers, freight, or cargo where such operations: (i) are operated in support of,

advertised, or otherwise made available to members of the public by any means for

commercial air transportation purposes, and members of the public may travel or ship

Commercial Cargo on the flights; (ii) the flights are scheduled to occur, or are represented

as occurring (or available) at specified times and days; and (iii) the person conducts, or

proposes to operate, departures at JWA at a frequency greater than two (2) times per week

during any consecutive three (3) week period.


Since there’s no “loophole”, why does the City care where JetSuiteX is located at John

Wayne Airport?

Some have questioned why the City cares where JetSuiteX operates, particularly since the

aircraft it uses are generally smaller and quieter than most of the commercial aircraft in the

JWA fleet. The City wants JetSuiteX’s operations moved to the main terminal for reasons

related to safety, security and accountability.It is considered a commercial user and as such, it should operate among the airport’s other commercial users – the main terminal. The City is very concerned about commercial operations “encroaching” into an area of the airport that has traditionally been used by

General Aviation. There are gates available in the main terminal. In addition, the City has safety and security concerns related to the screening of commercial passengers at a Fixed Base Operator rather than in the main terminal. While Federal regulations allow it, the City believes all commercial passengers should be screened in the main terminal.


What about the “Ubers” in the Sky?

There are other companies that operate what some dub “Ubers in the sky” because they sell available seats on chartered or private aircraft. However, they aren’t available to the general public and they don’t fly a regular schedule.Thus, they don’t meet the definition of commercial user.


Can the City renegotiate the 1985 JWA Settlement Agreement to obtain more


The federal government approved the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990

(ANCA) five years after our agreement was in place. ANCA made it virtually impossible

for local governments or airport operators to place further restrictions on aircraft noise,

capacity and operations. Fortunately, the limits at JWA as set forth in the 1985 settlement

agreement were “grandfathered” under ANCA, and the federal government has allowed the

restrictions to remain in place. We understand that many in our community would like to

see changes. However, due to ANCA, no further restrictions can be placed on JWA



Are General Aviation jets allowed to fly 24/7?

Yes, as long as they meet the noise limits set forth in the JWA General Aviation Ordinance (GANO). Unlike the time-based, commercial air carrier curfew that prevents commercial flights from arriving or departing

JWA during a set period of time nightly, the General Aviation “curfew” is noise-level based.

These levels vary by day and night. Please see the chart below.

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