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John Wayne Airport, Orange County
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Frequently Asked Questions

John Wayne Airport Settlement Agreement

Q. What is the Settlement Agreement?

A. The 1985 "Settlement Agreement" formalized consensus reached between the County of Orange, the City of Newport Beach and two community groups on the nature and extent of facility and operational improvements that could be implemented at John Wayne Airport (JWA).

Q. Who are the signatories to the Settlement Agreement?

A. The County of Orange, the City of Newport Beach, the Airport Working Group (AWG) and Stop Polluting Our Newport (SPON) are the four signatories.

Q. When does the Settlement Agreement expire?

A. The original Settlement Agreement was scheduled to expire on December 31, 2005. In 2003, the four signatories approved a series of amendments to the Settlement Agreement that extended the agreement through December 31, 2015. This amendment allowed for additional facilities and operational capacity and continued to provide environmental protections for the local community.

Q. What kinds of limitations are defined in the Settlement Agreement?

A. There are six principal restrictions in the Settlement Agreement: (1) term of the agreement; (2) curfew; (3) the annual passenger limit, referred to as the "Million Annual Passenger Cap" or "MAP Cap"; (4) the number of Class A Average Daily Departures (ADDs) allocated for passenger service; (5) the number of Class A Average Daily Departures (ADDs) allocated for all-cargo service; and (6) the number of passenger loading bridges.

Q. Why is the curfew treated differently than other limitations?

A. The curfew at JWA was originally implemented through lease agreements between the County and scheduled commercial operators using the Airport. In December 1971, the Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution establishing a curfew. The current curfew was established in the County’s General Aviation Noise Ordinance (GANO). While the curfew was created and has its legal basis in a County ordinance, it is also referenced in the 1985 Settlement Agreement. Under the Settlement Agreement, the County was obligated to maintain the curfew as established in 1985. The 2003 amendment to the Settlement Agreement continued the County’s obligation to maintain and enforce the curfew through 2020.

Q. What is the current status of the Settlement Agreement amendment process?

A. The Proposed Project, Alternatives and the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR 617) were considered by the Orange County Board of Supervisors on September 30, 2014. By a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the proposed John Wayne Airport Settlement Agreement Amendment and certified Environmental Impact Report 617.

Q. Does the FAA have to approve any amendments?

A. No. However, the County requested and received an opinion from the FAA advising that the proposed amendment would not be inconsistent with the County’s grant assurances under the federal Airport Improvement Program and with the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990.

Q. Who makes the final decision?

A. As the owner and operator of John Wayne Airport, the County of Orange is the "lead agency" for this project. As a result, the Board of Supervisors is responsible for adopting a project, certifying the environmental impact report and taking related actions.  

Any amendment of the Settlement Agreement would also require the approval of the other three signatories: the City of Newport Beach, AWG and SPON. AWG and SPON have already approved the proposed amendment and the City of Newport Beach is scheduled to consider the matter on October 14, 2014.  Before an amendment is considered final, a stipulation from all four signatories must be filed with the U.S. District Court which would then need to review and confirm the amendment.