Press Kit

General Aviation Improvement Program

John Wayne Airport (JWA) is home base to nearly 500 general aviation aircraft. These aircraft range from vintage biplanes and helicopters to corporate jets. There are 379 County tie-down and hangar spaces for general aviation; fixed base operators (FBOs) provide additional tie-down spaces. Overall, general aviation represents nearly 70% of the Airport’s total number of operations (takeoffs and landings).

Over the past 25 years, there have been significant changes in general aviation, both with respect to aircraft type and utilization. To better accommodate the changing general aviation landscape, JWA began a process of evaluating and planning for the future needs of the general aviation community at the Airport through a comprehensive General Aviation Improvement Program (GAIP). A number of factors led to the proposed comprehensive update of general aviation facilities including, but not limited to: (1) the introduction of new aircraft into, and other changes within, the general aviation fleet; (2) the advanced age of some of JWA’s general aviation structures and resultant need for improvements; (3) the need to ensure compliance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements related to proximity of buildings to taxiways and runways; and (4) the fact that a number of general aviation-related long-term leases have expired or are nearing expiration.

The General Aviation Improvement Program has established planning goals and objectives:

  • Continue to provide safe and secure operations;
  • Utilize limited land area efficiently and economically;
  • Preserve compatibility between general and commercial aviation operations;
  • Embrace flexibility to allow for technological advances and market trends;
  • Maximize economic, self-sustaining, revenue producing facilities; and
  • Assess the ability of existing infrastructure to support general aviation facilities.

The GAIP is an extensive undertaking that will be completed in phases over several years:

Milestone Schedule
Meet with general aviation users/stakeholders to solicit input Complete
Retain consultant support to conduct engineering/environmental review Complete
Conduct preliminary engineering analysis and environmental review Q3 2017
Present proposed project to Board of Supervisors Q1 2018
Conduct competitive bid process for development Q2 2018
Present recommended firms to Board of Supervisors Q4 2018
Construction plans and permitting complete Q2 2019
General Aviation Improvement Program Implementation begins Q3 2019

For more information, contact Deanne Thompson at 949.252.5182 or

John Wayne Airport (SNA) is owned by the County of Orange and is operated as a self-supporting enterprise that receives no general fund tax revenue. The Airport serves more than 10 million passengers annually and reaches more than 20 nonstop destinations in the United States, Canada and Mexico. More information can be found at Like us on, or follow us on Twitter @johnwayneair and Instagram @johnwayneair.

Last updated: 04/18/17