Airplane landing at John Wayne Airport
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The John Wayne Airport AirACADEMY is an educational outreach opportunity designed to provide residents with an overview of how the Airport functions. Participants will learn how technical processes, service programs, and business partners work together to implement the successful operation of John Wayne Airport. We have developed a curriculum to match our nationally recognized organization creating an Airport Academy reflecting our mission to plan, direct and provide high-quality aviation services and facilities for Orange County in a safe, secure, and efficient manner.

We will hold all sessions in the evening, making it accessible for individuals to fit into their schedules to attend. A light meal will be provided at the beginning of each class.

Due to the composition of the courses and the format of the program, John Wayne Airport requires attendance at all course classes, and participants may not pick and choose which classes to take. For a complete experience, it is essential to attend every class. There is no cost to participate in the program - it is an opportunity provided to the public by John Wayne Airport. We recommend that those interested in applying for the JWA AirACADEMY review the details of the program and complete an application.

For additional details, call (949) 292-3049, or email


John Wayne Airport will review applications and reach out to all applicants with information closer to the 2023 session dates.

Please be advised, submitting an application does not guarantee placement in the program. 

The selection process will be focused on creating a class that is a representative cross-section of community and business members throughout Orange County and the surrounding areas.

Apply for AirACADEMY

Location, Dates and Times

2023 Session

Classes will take place at the John Wayne Airport Administration Office at 3160 Airway Avenue, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, in the Airport Commission Meeting Room. Parking is available.

Course One
Airport Director and Access & Noise

Wednesday, July 12, 2023
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

This class is an introduction to the activities associated with a medium hub commercial airport. In addition to an overview of the Airport, participants will learn the history of John Wayne Airport and its organizational structure of six Airport divisions, including the Airport Director, Business Development, Finance Administration, Operations, Public Affairs, and Technical Services. The subject discussion will include Airport governance, Airport advisory commissions, leadership structure, and Airport rules and regulations.

The Access and Noise office enforces the 1985 Federal Court Settlement Agreement and educates stakeholders about aircraft access and noise issues and handles noise inquiries and requests for data. Participants will gain an understanding of the unique regulatory structure within the Settlement Agreement that established mandatory limits for noise, operating hours (curfew), annual passengers, and the number of average daily departures.

Course Two
Finance Administration and Business Development

Tuesday, July 18, 2023
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Running the Airport takes a complex budget, and funding come from various sources. The Finance Administration division comprises four units, Budget and Procurement, Finance, Administration, and Accounting Operations. The team is responsible for airline rates and charges, debt and liquidity management, preparation and monitoring of the Airport budget and 5-year strategic financial plan, daily operation of accounting systems and processes, procurement operations, and preparation of financial statements and regulatory reports. Participants will learn how John Wayne Airport applies for grants, maintains fiscal responsibility, and budget planning for the future.

Business Development is an integral part of planning and implementing a strategic financial plan that balances commercial air travel with general aviation at the Airport. John Wayne Airport is home to nearly 500 private general aviation aircraft, including single- and multi-engine aircraft, corporate jets, helicopters, and vintage biplanes. General aviation represents nearly 70% of the Airport's total number of operations. Participants will learn about the Airport’s comprehensive General Aviation Improvement Program (GAIP), including the evaluation and planning.

Course Three
Business Development

Tuesday, July 25, 2023
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

This class will focus on the critical issues involved with developing, implementing, and monitoring all commercial real property contracts concerning the Airport and all necessary services to keep the Airport running efficiently. Participants will experience the intricacies of the concessions program by enjoying a walking tour of the terminal from a business perspective and learning what it takes to attract restaurants, retail, and services to John Wayne Airport. They will also review the unique conditions within which the businesses work, highlighting processes, partnerships, and future vision.

Course Four
Public Affairs and Environmental Resources

Tuesday, August 1, 2023
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Participants will learn about how the Airport public affairs team fulfills our mission of being a good neighbor and providing a superior guest experience. The Public Affairs division at John Wayne Airport comprises five units, Access & Noise, Communications, Customer Relations, Government Relations, and Public Relations. This team is responsible for communicating with media and responding to general inquiries; providing legislative and regulatory analysis; serving as front-line customer service; coordinating Airport volunteer programs; planning and organizing museum-quality art exhibitions; and disbursing information via the Airport website and social media. Participants will also learn about environmental and sustainability efforts in air travel and our overarching goals to be responsible members of our community.

Course Five
Operations - Safety and Security

Tuesday, August 8, 2023
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Airport Operations include the day-to-day oversight of Airport activities of four units; Airside Operations, Landside Operations, Emergency Preparedness and Security, and Safety and Loss Control.

In this course, participants will learn how Operations conducts Airport inspections, manages the employee identification and badging process, and supports the safety and security of the Airport. This group also provides oversight of Airport Police Services and Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting services and is the point of contact for the Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Course Six
Operations - Terminal and Airfield

Tuesday, August 15, 2023
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Continuing the topic of the previous course, the class will learn about Airport planning, highlighting the broad landscape of our regulatory framework. John Wayne Airport’s continual awareness of (and responsiveness to) local, state, and federal laws impacting air travel directly affect daily operations. Participants will also learn of the substantial technological enterprise that works behind the scenes to keep our parking and airline support services operating smoothly and efficiently. This includes an up-close look at the airfield through a group shuttled tour.

The Academy will end with a presentation of participation certificates and class photos.