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Rachel Gibson
Acting PIO
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News Releases

July 15, 2014


SANTA ANA, Calif. - Due to a gradual shift of the Earth's magnetic poles, JWA's runways will get new number designations. Originally scheduled for July, the runway redesignation has been postponed to September 2014 to provide sufficient time to complete and publish aeronautical reference materials used by Federal Aviation Administration air traffic control, as well as, commercial and general aviation pilots. JWA's commercial runway will ultimately become two left and two zero right (2L-20R), and the general aviation runway will become two right and two zero left (2R-20L).

For nearly half a century, John Wayne Airport (JWA) has operated two runways, a commercial runway - one left and one nine right (1L-19R), and a general aviation runway - one right and one nine left (1R-19L). Runways can be used in both directions, and therefore have opposite 180 degree headings at each end (e.g. 1L-19R, 1R-19L). The two numbers always differ by 18 (= 180°).

Per the FAA Aeronautical Information Manual, a runway number is the whole number nearest one-tenth the magnetic bearing of the centerline of the runway, measured clockwise from the magnetic north. The magnetic north rotates about one degree every 12 years or five degrees every 60 years.


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 nine million passengers annually and reaches more than 20 nonstop destinations in the United States, Mexico and Canada.  More information can be found at or at or on