County Commission, Board of Supervisors to Consider General Aviation Project and EIR - Updated 4/18
Update: The Airport Commission's April 17 meeting agenda has been changed. The General Aviation Improvement Program item has been moved to a "Special Meeting" agenda (see pg. 3 of the agenda). The Special Meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m.
Update #2: The County has continued the GAIP item from the Board of Supervisors April 23 meeting to its May 7 meeting.
Update #3: On April 17, the JWA Airport Commission reviewed the GAIP, heard public comment, and voted to continue the item to its May 1 meeting.
John Wayne Airport (JWA) has a proposed project called the General Aviation Improvement Program (GAIP). According to the County of Orange (County), the airport’s owner and operator, the airport’s general aviation facilities are aging and need to be updated to comply with current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) standards.
However, modernizing facilities and bringing them into compliance is only part of the GAIP. And now, JWA’s staff is recommending approval of a project alternative that, according to the County's environmental document, will result in an expansion of the airport’s general aviation operations which will lead to more corporate and private jet flights over Newport Beach and other Orange County cities.
If approved by the County Board of Supervisors on May 7, this project alternative will reduce the airport’s storage capacity for light general aviation (the smaller and quieter aircraft such as single- and twin- engine planes) to make room for storing more corporate and private jets. It also contains new accommodations for security, customs and immigration to make JWA more appealing for private jet passengers, including international travelers. This will encourage more private jet utilization of JWA. Further, there are statements in the GAIP’s draft environmental impact report (EIR) that imply that the County is considering expanding commercial operations, such as regularly scheduled commercial charters, into an area of JWA which now supports light general aviation.
The City believes this project will negatively impact the quality of life in communities surrounding the airport. It will lead to more jet arrivals and departures, creating more noise and pollution for those living and working under the JWA arrival and departure corridors. In addition to the noise and air quality impacts, the City has serious concerns about allowing security screening and customs and immigration services at a general aviation terminal. These functions would be managed by the privately held companies that serve the general aviation community rather than in the main terminal, under the purview of JWA’s professional staff. The GAIP must not sacrifice safety, security and accountability for the convenience of a select group of airport users.
You can learn more about this issue, and what the City will and will not support, by visiting the City website at newportbeachca.gov/gaip.
If you share the City’s concerns about the GAIP, now is the time to act. Tell the County how you feel about it at these upcoming meetings:
- Orange County Airport Commission meeting on May 1 at 5 p.m., at the JWA Administrative Offices, 3160 Airway Ave. in Costa Mesa.
- You may email comments to the Commission to Ms. Aida Lopez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Orange County Board of Supervisors hearing on May 7 at 9:30 a.m., at the County Hall of Administration, 333 W. Santa Ana Blvd. in Santa Ana.
- Visit www.ocgov.com/gov/bos/opinion for a link to submit comments to the Board electronically.