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John Wayne Airport

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+1 949-252-5200

Orange County

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John Wayne Airport

18601 Airport WaySanta Ana, California

18601 Airport Way, Santa Ana, CA 92707, USA

Alaska Airlines Inc, American Airlines Inc, Los Angeles Internatio, Long Beach Airport, Irvine Marriott


Welcome to john wayne airport

John Wayne Airport (IATA: SNA, ICAO: KSNA, FAA LID: SNA) is an international airport in Orange County, California, United States, with its mailing address in the city of Santa Ana, hence the IATA airport code. The entrance to the airport is off MacArthur Blvd in Irvine, the city that borders the airport on the north and east. Newport Beach and Costa Mesa form the southern and western boundaries along with a small unincorporated area along the Corona del Mar (73) Freeway. Santa Ana is just north, not actually touching the airport. Originally named Orange County Airport, the county Board of Supervisors renamed it in 1979 to honor actor John Wayne, who lived in neighboring Newport Beach and died that year.


The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015 categorized it as a primary commercial service airport since it has over 10,000 passenger boardings per year. Federal Aviation Administration records say the airport had 4,584,147 enplanements in calendar year 2014, an increase from 4,450,628 in 2013. John Wayne International Airport is the sole commercial airport in Orange County. General aviation operations outnumber commercial operations and several facilities at the airport serve the general aviation and corporate aviation community. The other general aviation airport in the county is Fullerton Municipal Airport. Other commercial airports nearby are Long Beach Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and Ontario International Airport. In 2014 John Wayne Airport was the second busiest airport in the Greater Los Angeles area (by passenger count) with over 9 million total passengers.

As of 2015, the largest airlines at John Wayne Airport were Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Delta Air Lines.

The main runway, at 5,701 feet (1,738 m), is one of the shortest of any major airport in the United States, and passenger airliners at the airport have never been larger than the Boeing 757. (Some larger cargo aircraft fly from SNA, such as the FedEx A310/300.) Some gates are built to handle planes up to the size of a Boeing 767, which could operate with payload/fuel load restrictions. No wide-body passenger airliners have ever been scheduled at SNA.

John Wayne Airport is 14 miles (23 km) from Orange County's main attraction – the Disneyland Resort. (Los Angeles International Airport is 35 miles (56 km) from Disneyland.)

A statue of John Wayne, the airport's namesake, welcomes passengers in the arrivals area on the lower level.


The first airstrip on the grounds was constructed in 1923, when Eddie Martin signed a five-year lease with James Irvine to operate a flying school on land owned by the Irvine Company. It was purchased through a land swap by the County of Orange in 1939 and remains under the county's ownership and management.

Martin added the first hangar in 1926. In 1935 Howard Hughes staged his world speed record-setting flight from the Eddie Martin Airport.

With the opening of the Santa Ana Army Air Base in 1942, the adjacent Martin Field was temporarily closed.

After serving as a military base during World War II, the Santa Ana Army Airfield was returned by the federal government to the County with the stipulation that it remain open to all kinds of aviation uses.

In addition to continuing to serve aviation, the field became an important drag racing center. From 1950 to 1959, C.J. "Pappy" Hart and Creighton Hunter operated the Santa Ana Drag Strip, credited for being the world's first commercial drag strip, on the airport runway every Sunday, when it was closed to air traffic.

The original single runway was 4,800 feet (1,500 m) long, oriented on a magnetic heading of 210 degrees (Runway 21) and 30 degrees (Runway 3). In 1964 the airport was rebuilt, with its present two parallel runway configuration, oriented 190 degrees and 10 degrees magnetic. The longer runway, 19R(now 20R), at 5,701 feet (1,738 m), is only 901 feet (275 m) longer than the old Runway 21 but long enough to legally accommodate jet airliners. A full instrument landing system (ILS) was also installed to serve commercial operations.

During the 1950s, the only airline flights were Bonanza's few flights between Los Angeles and Phoenix, via San Diego. In 1963, Bonanza started nonstop F27s to Phoenix, and to Las Vegas in 1965; in 1967, Air California started Electra nonstops to San Francisco, 48 flights a week each way. The first scheduled jet flights were Bonanza DC-9s later in 1967.

In 1967, the 22,000-square-foot (2,000 m2) Eddie Martin Terminal was constructed 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 (2,700 m2).

Nonstop flights reached Salt Lake City in 1976–77 (Hughes DC9s), Denver in 1982 (Frontier MD80s), Dallas-Fort Worth in 1983 (American MD80s), Chicago in 1986 (AirCal 737-300s), and New York Kennedy in 1991 (America West 757s).

After the Orange County Airport was renamed John Wayne Airport in 1979, the John Wayne Associates commissioned sculptor Robert Summers to create a bronze statue of "the Duke." The 9-foot (2.7 m) statue, created at Hoka Hey Foundry in Dublin, Texas, was dedicated to the County on November 4, 1982. Today, the bronze statue is in the Thomas F. Riley Terminal on the Arrival Level.

In 1990, the Thomas F. Riley Terminal opened. The aging 29,000-square-foot (2,700 m2) Eddie Martin Terminal was replaced with a modern 337,900-square-foot (31,390 m2) facility. The new facility included 14 loading bridges, four baggage carousels, wide open spaces and distinct roadside arrival and departure levels. In 1994, the then-unused Eddie Martin Terminal was demolished. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, a new, larger airport was proposed for the nearby site of the then recently closed El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. However, after a series of political battles, combined with significant opposition from residents in the vicinity of El Toro, the proposal was defeated, and no new airport was built.

In 2011, additional terminal space was added and existing terminals were refreshed as part of a $543 million expansion project. A new Terminal C with six additional gates was built along with dedicated commuter gate areas in the new Terminal C and new commuter facilities in Terminal A. A new parking lot C was added along with additional support facilities such as a Central Utility plant.

The airport has previously been served by Aloha Airlines (2001–2008), Virgin America (2009–2010) and Air Canada (2010).


The main passenger terminal, the Thomas F. Riley Terminal, is named for the late county supervisor who lobbied for the airport's expansion in the 1980s. The Thomas F. Riley Terminal is divided into three terminal areas, A, B and C with dedicated commuter gate areas at the North end of Terminal A and South end of Terminal C.

All three terminals, A, B and C, are within the same Thomas F. Riley building and security screened passengers can move "airside" between all terminal areas. Security screening lanes exist in all three terminals adjacent to check in. All security screening areas also have a "fast track" lane for first class and elite frequent fliers. Switching between terminals indoors before security "landside" is also possible, the check in counter areas between all three terminals have connecting walkways to allow access between all terminals. Complimentary Wi-Fi is provided in all three terminals.

Terminals A and B

Terminals A and B were built in 1990 to replace the former Eddie Martin Terminal which was closed upon the new terminals' opening. In November 2011, Terminal A added a dedicated commuter gate area, along with refreshed gates, signage and information displays at both Terminals A and B.

Terminals A and B were designed by Gensler & Associates, Leason Pomeroy Associates, and Thompson Consultants International. They contain restaurants, bars and shops, with a themed restaurant located in the air side connecting area of both terminals. In the upper rotunda above the themed restaurant is an American Airlines Admirals Club (operating out of Terminal A) and a United Club (operating out of Terminal B).

Terminal C

Terminal C opened in November 2011 and added seven new gates, a dedicated commuter gate area and new eateries and retail.

Terminal C also provides a U.S. Customs and Border Protection FIS/Federal Inspection Service for international flights that do not have pre-clearance. Two arrival gates feed into the FIS and passengers once cleared exit at the south end of the Terminal C arrivals area. The FIS facility has Global Entry kiosks for registered users to shorten processing time. The FIS facility was designed by Gensler.

Arrivals level

The Arrivals level is on the lower level of the airport and provides seven baggage claim belts, two in Terminal A, two in Terminal B and three in Terminal C. Immediately outside the baggage claim is the curbside arrivals pickup area. Rental car offices are between Terminal A and B baggage claim areas with most rental agencies on site in the lower levels of the parking facility across the arrivals pickup area between Terminal A and B. Across the roadway from the arrivals pickup area between Terminal A and B is an island for public transportation, including taxis, buses and the Disneyland Resort Express.

International service

Alaska Airlines provided international service to Vancouver in 2002. However, a stop in Seattle (or change of planes) was required shortly after launch as John Wayne Airport was not authorized for pre-clearance or international flights by U.S. agencies.

On April 8, 2010, Canada's largest airline, Air Canada, started flights to Toronto, Canada, becoming the first ever international airline to serve John Wayne Airport. However, it ceased flights later that year.

Canadian airline WestJet provides non-stop year round service to Vancouver (began May 2011). WestJet did provide seasonal service to Calgary, but this was cancelled in 2013.

Flights from Canada complete immigration and customs formalities in Canada via United States border preclearance.

Southwest Airlines subsidiary AirTran Airways began a new service in June 2012 from John Wayne Airport to Cabo San Lucas and Mexico City. This was the first international service to use the new FIS in Terminal C. This service is now operated and branded by Southwest Airlines.

Mexico's Interjet began a new service in October 2012 from John Wayne Airport to Guadalajara and Mexico City. It ended both flights in July 2014 as the airport officials are seeking a replacement.

Alaska Airlines began a Mexico service in October 2015. The airline began offering non-stop flights from John Wayne Airport to Los Cabos on October 8 and Puerto Vallarta on the following day, October 9. Alaska Airlines has continued this service to each airport on an every-other-day rotation.

Aircraft noise abatement and curfew

A 1985 settlement agreement defined the scope of operation for John Wayne Airport in how it affects the local community. The area that lies directly South of John Wayne Airport is considered a noise sensitive area. The agreement in conjunction with a Phase 2 Commercial Airline Access Plan and Regulation controls the number of noisier operations (mainly commercial aircraft) allowed from the airport. Noise abatement enforcement is carried out with the aid of 10 permanent noise monitoring stations. These stations are placed in areas that exceed a community noise equivalent level (CNEL) of 65 dB.

The short primary runway (20R/2L), coupled with the local noise restrictions, can require a takeoff at or near full power (95–97% power). Some aircraft departing from the airport may cycle to full power while holding at the runway then release the brakes when engines are fully spooled up (shortfield procedure). On operations from runway 20R a steep climb may also be required to allow for a power reduction at about 500 to 700 feet (150–210 m) for a quieter overflight over the city of Newport Beach. For 20R departures, a left turn after departure to 175 degrees allows for a passage over Newport Beach within the confines of the noise abatement profile. Departures from 2L (normally during Santa Ana wind conditions) are not affected by these noise abatement procedures. Landings almost always include full flap extensions, and the use of full reverse thrust.

The county prohibits commercial departures between 10:00PM and 7:00AM (8:00AM on Sundays) and commercial arrivals between 11:00PM and 7:00AM (8:00AM on Sundays). Exceptions can be made for an emergency, mechanical, air traffic control or weather delay, which is beyond the control of the airline.

In 2003, the settlement agreement was amended to increase operations, but focused on increases only for aircraft meeting the lowest noise signatures.

Access and noise reports are published by the airport and are available to the public. These reports are generated on a regular basis and outline curfew exceptions per carrier and overall noise impact.


The following airlines offer scheduled passenger service. All international arrivals (excluding flights from destinations with U.S. border preclearance) are processed in Terminal C.


John Wayne Airport covers 504 acres (2.04 km2). The airport has multiple general aviation facilities, an airline concourse building split into three terminal areas, and 2 paved runways.

  • Runway 2L/20R: 5,701 by 150 feet (1,738 m × 46 m), used by commercial aircraft and general aviation serving most incoming and departing traffic to the west of the airport. This runway is ILS equipped.
  • Runway 2R/20L: 2,887 by 75 feet (880 m × 23 m), used by smaller general aviation aircraft and light aircraft.
  • General aviation

    The airport is the home base for approximately 450 general aviation aircraft.
    The General Aviation Master Plan adopted in the early 1990s limits the number of FBOs (Fixed-base operator) at John Wayne Airport to two, currently Atlantic Aviation and Signature Flight Support. In addition to supporting fuel sales and other aircraft services, these companies lease facilities to flight training, charter, and aircraft maintenance businesses.

  • FBOs:
  • Airport businesses
  • Bus

    The airport is served by Orange County Transportation Authority ("OCTA") routes 76 and 212. Both routes run only on weekdays.

    Car rental

    On site car rentals are available in the basement level of the Parking A2/B2 garages. Off site car rental shuttles are available at the Ground Transportation Center.

    Disneyland Resort Express

    The Disneyland Resort Express provides regular service from the airport to Disneyland Resort and Anaheim Resort Hotels.


    The airport has four parking garages open in the main terminal area: A1, A2, B2 and C. Valet parking is available between at a drop off/pick up area Terminals A and B, and between Terminals B and C. An off airport parking lot (Main Street Parking) is also available at 1512 Main Street in Irvine, with free shuttle service to the terminals.

    Irvine iShuttle

    The City of Irvine's iShuttle route A serves the airport and Tustin Metrolink station. The iShuttle service runs only during weekday rush hours.

    Taxis and private shuttles

    Taxis and private shuttles are available from the Ground Transportation Center located outside the lower level between Terminal A and B.

    Transportation network companies

    Transportation network companies, such as Lyft and Uber, are available via their mobile apps. Drop offs can be made at the departure level; pick ups are allowed only, curbside, at each terminal's arrivals level. (No pick ups are allowed on the departure level.)

    Accidents and incidents

    On February 17, 1981, Air California (AirCal) Flight 336 (a Boeing 737-200), flying from San Jose, California, to John Wayne Airport, crashed upon initiating a go-around. The crew was cleared for a visual approach to Runway 19R while the controller had cleared another flight to take off from 19R. Upon realizing the mistake, the controller ordered the flight to go around and the other aircraft to abort its takeoff, which it did. The captain of the landing Air California aircraft delayed the go-around then initiated a gear up procedure before a positive rate of climb was achieved, causing the plane to stall. The 737 then banked left at low altitude causing the left wingtip to make contact with the runway. Then the nose came down and struck the ground and the airplane pirouetted and inverted and skidded down the runway before coming to rest in the margin. A fire started, four passengers sustained minor injuries, and 91 other passengers and 5 crew exited without incident. The aircraft, registered N468AC, was damaged beyond repair and was written off.

    On December 15, 1993, a chartered IAI Westwind business jet carrying two flightcrew members and three passengers (including Rich Snyder, president of In-N-Out Burger), crashed while on approach to John Wayne Airport. All five occupants were killed in the crash. The aircraft, which departed Brackett Field, thirty miles to the north in La Verne, California, followed a Boeing 757 for landing, became caught in the 757's wake turbulence, rolled into a deep descent, and crashed near the intersection of State Route 55 and Edinger Avenue. The crash investigation led to the FAA requirement for an adequate period between heavy aircraft and following light aircraft to allow wake turbulence to diminish.

    John Wayne Airport has been rated as one of the nation's scariest airports. In order to compensate for a short runway, and to comply with local noise restrictions, pilots frequently take off at an angle of 20 to 25 degrees, compared to 10 to 15 degrees at other airports. This has no relation to the two previously mentioned accidents.

    Law enforcement operations

    Orange County Sheriff's Department

    John Wayne Airport has been the main base for the Orange County Sheriff's Department since 1985 when the county's Board of Supervisors approved the purchase of two Hughes MD500E aircraft nicknamed "Duke I" and "Duke II" which is the famous nickname of the airports namesake. It was decided to be more practical to have two deputies operate the helicopter rather than a deputy and a civilian. In 1998 the OC Sheriff's Department traded up for a new helicopter, the McDonnell Douglas MD600N. At this time the OCSD became the very first law enforcement agency to operate the MD600N. These helicopters were faster, quieter, and safer.

    Today the ASU, or Air Support Unit operates of fleet of American Eurocopters AS350B2 or "ASTAR" for short. The first arrived in March 2005 and the second in March 2006. More recently the department purchased a Bell UH-1 Huey for purposes of SAR, or search and rescue.

    Costa Mesa Police Department

    The Costa Mesa Police Department operated an ASU out of John Wayne Airport for 41 years. The division was called "ABLE" for Airborne Law Enforcement. They finished servicing their community in 2012 with the last helicopter platform being three Eurocopter EC-120 "Eagles".

    Lyon Air Museum

    Lyon Air Museum, founded by Major General William Lyon in 2009, is located in a hangar on the west side of the airport. The museum focuses particularly on World War II military aircraft and vehicles. The museum hosts The Collings Foundation, an annual flight experience program, every Spring allowing the public the opportunity to fly in a historic Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress or Consolidated B-24 Liberator. The air museum also features a rotating selection of antique cars from General Lyon's personal collection every year for a limited period of time. Past features included a collection of the General's Duesenbergs and Packard collections.


    John Wayne Airport Wikipedia