Planning Process

John Wayne Airport (JWA) 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.

Over the past approximately 25 years, there has been an overall decline in general aviation aircraft based at JWA. In 2015, 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.

GAIP Goals & 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

Environmental Review

The first step in the environmental review process was the issuance of a Notice of Preparation (NOP)/Initial Study, to provide notification that an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is being prepared. The NOP review and comment period extended from March 30, 2017 to May 1, 2017.


JWA hosted a scoping meeting in conjunction with the NOP comment period on April 12, 2017. The scoping meeting provided the opportunity for responsible agencies and the public to learn about the project and then provide input on the scope of issues that the project's EIR should analyze.

A Draft Program Environmental Impact Report 627 (PEIR) was prepared.  The comments received during the NOP comment period were incorporated into the DEIR. The Draft PEIR was distributed for a 45-day public review on September 20, 2018. A public meeting was held on September 26, 2018, to give the public an opportunity to provide input on the Draft PEIR and to ask questions about the GAIP. Prior to the end of the public review period, the County received requests for a time extension and extended the review period until November 21, 2018, resulting in a 60-day public review period.

More than 300 comments letters/cards/emails were received on the Draft PEIR.  All comments received during the DEIR public review period were included, and comments on substantive environmental issues were responded to in writing.  The responses to comments were distributed for public review and posted on the JWA website on April 9, 2019. The comments became part of Final EIR 627 and can be viewed here.

The final Program Environmental Impact Report 627 was certified by the Orange County Board of Supervisors on July 25, 2019. The Draft documents now serve as the Final Program EIR 627 and can be viewed here.