Press Kit

Background

John Wayne Airport, Orange County (JWA), owned and operated by the County of Orange, is the only commercial service airport in Orange County, California. The three-letter designator assigned to the Airport by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is “SNA.” The Airport is located approximately 35 miles south of Los Angeles, between the cities of Costa Mesa, Irvine and Newport Beach. The service area includes more than three million people within the 34 cities and unincorporated areas of Orange County. In 2017, more than 10 million passengers were served.

One of only two airports in the County, JWA is home to nearly 500 general aviation (private, non-commercial) aircraft and is served by two full-service fixed base operators and one limited use general aviation facility (no fuel sales). The Airport spans 500 acres and operates two runways. The 2,887-foot runway serves general aviation and the 5,700-foot main runway serves both commercial and general aviation aircraft.

History

The original Eddie Martin Airport began as a private landing strip, built in the 1920s by aviation pioneer Eddie Martin on Irvine Company land. In 1923, Martin founded a flying school and Martin Aviation, one of the nation’s oldest aviation firms. It became Orange County Airport, a publicly-owned facility, in 1939 through a land swap between the Irvine Company and the County of Orange. After serving as a military base during World War II, it was returned by the federal government to the County with the stipulation that Orange County Airport remain open to all types of aviation uses.

The 22,000 square foot Eddie Martin Terminal was built in 1967 to accommodate 400,000 annual passengers. Remodeling added two passenger holding areas in 1974, a new baggage claim area in 1980 and a terminal annex building in 1982, bringing the facility to 29,000 square feet.  In 1979, the Board of Supervisors for the County of Orange renamed Orange County Airport to John Wayne Airport, Orange County, in memory of the late movie star and Newport Beach resident.

The Thomas F. Riley Terminal opened to the public on September 16, 1990 and is named after the former Fifth District Supervisor whose role in community negotiations advanced the Airport Improvement Project that resulted in construction of the new Terminal complex. The 337,900 square foot building (Terminals A and B) included 14 commercial passenger gates, four baggage carousels, two airline club lounges and a variety of food and gift concessions. The  Eddie Martin Terminal was demolished in 1994.

In 2011, JWA completed the majority of a multi-year improvement program that included construction of a third multi-level Terminal C with six new commercial passenger gates; two commuter terminals; new security checkpoints; additional dining and shopping concessions; greater baggage screening capabilities; new federal inspection facilities to accommodate international arrivals; Parking Structure C with 2,000+ parking spaces; a Central Utility Plant; and a new South Remain-Over-Night (RON) aircraft parking area.

For more information, contact Deanne Thompson at 949.252.5182 or dthompson@ocair.com.

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 ocair.com. Like us on Facebook.com/johnwayneairport, or follow us on Twitter @johnwayneair and Instagram @johnwayneair.

Last updated: 08/17/18