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Settlement Agreement

The landmark 1985 Settlement Agreement formalized consensus between the County of Orange, the City of Newport Beach, the Airport Working Group (AWG) and Stop Polluting Our Newport (SPON) on the nature and extent of facility and operational improvements that could be implemented at John Wayne Airport (JWA) through 2005. The Settlement Agreement established quarterly noise limits at ten defined noise monitoring locations; created an annual passenger cap; defined certain noise-based classes of aircraft operations; and set limits on the number of operations by class.

In 1990 Congress enacted the Airport Noise & Capacity Act of 1990 (ANCA) to establish national aviation noise policy. The purpose of the law is to constrain, at the federal level, the ability of local airport operators to restrict the use of their airports due to noise concerns. There are some who suggest that it was JWA’s Settlement Agreement and concern by FAA and airlines that communities across the country would seek to adopt similar noise abatement rules that led to ANCA.

The operational restrictions in place at JWA were “grandfathered” under ANCA and permitted to remain in effect. Amendments to the 1985 Settlement Agreement in 2003 and 2014 extended the Agreement term, provided for additional operating capacity, and continued mutually agreed upon operational limitations that serve to mitigate aircraft noise.

In 2003, the original four signatories approved a series of amendments to the Settlement Agreement that allowed for additional facilities and operational capacity and continued to provide environmental protections for the local community through 2015.

In early 2012, the four signatories began discussing a second extension of the Settlement Agreement and issued a Draft Environmental Impact Report in May 2014. The Board of Supervisors approved the proposed John Wayne Airport Settlement Agreement Amendment, Certified Environmental Impact Report, and adopted a Mitigation Monitoring and Report Program on September 30, 2014.