The City's aviation policy consists of three components:


A.        The preservation of the John Wayne Airport Settlement Agreement;


B.         The possible modification of the Settlement Agreement under terms acceptable to the City and County; and


C.        The development of an additional commercial airport to complement service provided at JWA.


The measures to implement this policy are discussed in POLICY IMPLEMENTATION and implementation of all components of this policy are necessary to preserve the quality of life for Newport Beach residents.




The purpose of this policy is to establish a comprehensive program to minimize the impact of John Wayne Airport (JWA) on the quality of life for Newport Beach residents by preserving the current operational restrictions at JWA, investigating ways to extend and/or strengthen those restrictions, and encouraging objective evaluation of the potential for converting El Toro MCAS to a commercial airport that would complement air transportation service provided at JWA.




The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) has predicted that the demand for air transportation in Orange County will exceed 16 million annual passengers (MAP) in the year 2000 and 23 MAP in 2010.  JWA is the only commercial airport in Orange County and commercial aircraft departing JWA generate noise that affects more than 40,000 Newport Beach residents.  However, inadequate land area and other constraints currently prevent JWA from serving more than 50% of the existing demand, and less than half of the anticipated demand, for air transportation in Orange County.


Nonetheless, in the absence of an additional and complementary commercial airport convenient to Orange County residents, there will be constant and continued pressure to increase the number of commercial jet departures at JWA and any resulting increase in noise could further degrade the quality of life for our residents.  Newport Beach accepts the fact that, in all probability, JWA will remain a commercial airport for the foreseeable future and plays an important role in Orange County's economic structure. However, Newport Beach will not accept any substantial increase in commercial jet aircraft noise and will oppose any physical improvement at JWA that could cause that to occur.


A major source of future additional air transportation demand is the urbanization of Southern Orange County.  The Board of Supervisors and the cities in Southern Orange County must be willing to accept the responsibility to provide for some of the air transportation demand generated by those businesses and residents.  There is evidence to suggest that El Toro Marine Corps Air Station (El Toro MCAS) can, when closed, be converted to a commercial aviation facility:


A.        With substantially less noise than generated by current military operations;


B.         Without significantly affecting the quality of life for South County residents;


C.        And provide a stimulus to the Orange County economy.


Newport Beach residents have experienced the same fears and concerns now expressed by South County residents, but operational restrictions imposed on JWA by the Settlement Agreement with Orange County have reduced the impacts on our residents while serving the needs of all of Orange County.




A.        Preservation of the JWA Settlement Agreement.  The City Council and staff shall take all steps necessary to protect the validity of the JWA Settlement Agreement.  These steps include, without limitation, the following:


1.         The City shall oppose, or seek protection from, any Federal legislative or regulatory action that would or could affect or impair the County's ability to operate JWA consistent with the provisions of the JWA Settlement Agreement or the City’s ability to enforce the Settlement Agreement.  City staff shall continue to monitor possible amendments to the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990 as well as various FAA Regulations and Advisory Circulars that relate to aircraft departure procedures.


            2.         The City shall maintain membership in NOISE and/or other groups whose primary purpose is to preserve the right of airport proprietors or noise impacted residents to establish or enforce reasonable restrictions to reduce the noise impact of commercial aircraft operations.


            3.         The City shall request, and assist the County in implementing, improvements to the comprehensive noise control program at JWA, which are consistent with the terms and provisions of the Settlement Agreement, and do not adversely impact airport capacity or safety.  Such improvements could include, without limitation, the following:


                        a.         Implementation of aircraft flight or departure procedures, which assure the community of the best feasible, noise abatement;                     


                        b.         The preservation of the existing permanent remote monitoring stations and the upgrade of the current noise monitoring system
                                    whenever feasible;


                        c.         Continued enforcement of the General Aviation Noise Ordinance.


B.         Possible Extension of the Settlement Agreement.  City Staff is directed to continue to discuss and, subject to City Council approval, negotiate amendments to the JWA Settlement Agreement.  The City Council will not approve any amendments to the Settlement Agreement absent FAA approval, preservation of the curfew, and a permanent reduction in the number of permitted departures by the noisiest commercial aircraft currently using the airport.  These are the minimum criteria that must be satisfied before the Council will even consider any limited increase in the number of permitted commercial jet departures or passenger service levels.


C.        Additional Commercial Airport.  The City of Newport Beach has long advocated the development of an additional commercial airport to complement service at JWA.  While the only mandatory criteria for the additional airport is that it be located convenient to Orange County residents, the City of Newport Beach, SCAG, the Southern California Regional Airport Authority, the FAA and the Orange County Cities Airport Authority have all recognized the potential of El Toro MCAS to accommodate commercial aviation without adversely affecting the quality of life of South Orange County residents.  The second airport site studies conducted to date have not identified a feasible location for an additional airport other than El Toro MCAS.  El Toro MCAS consists of 4700 acres of land and the base is surrounded by more than 16,000 acres of land that is vacant or devoted to uses which are compatible with the extremely noisy military jets that now comprise the majority of El Toro MCAS operations.  El Toro has two 10,000-foot runways and two (2) 8,000-foot runways.  Ground access to the base is provided by five existing or planned freeways, tollways, or transportation corridors as well as the nearby Amtrak railroad line.  Technical studies have confirmed that commercial departures can be accommodated by the existing runways such that residents are exposed to substantially less noise than generated by existing military operations.  These factors, combined with the decision of the Department of Defense to close El Toro MCAS in 1999, require a thorough and objective evaluation of the commercial aviation potential of El Toro during any reuse planning process.


While a final position on commercial aviation at El Toro MCAS should not be taken by any public or private entity until completion of a thorough and objective study, the following statements can be made with certainty:


            1.         El Toro MCAS is a County-wide resource which, if properly redeveloped, could generate substantial direct revenue through commercial aircraft operations and other on-site development as well as stimulate Orange County's economy and dramatically increase private and public sector revenue;


            2.         Evaluation of commercial aviation at El Toro should assume the continued existence of JWA while recognizing the limited size and physical capacity of that facility;


            3.         El Toro MCAS could be converted to a commercial airport without any South County resident experiencing noise as great as that generated by current military operations and much less noise than is currently experienced by any Newport Beach resident;


            4.         Public entities and residents likely to be impacted by airport noise or airport operations must receive written and binding assurances that any operational control or restriction necessary to minimize the adverse impact on quality of life will remain in effect in perpetuity.



Adopted - February 14, 1972

Amended - October 14, 1975

Amended - November 27, 1978

Amended - October 14, 1980

Amended - July 27, 1981                           

Amended - September 27, 1982

Amended - March 14, 1983

Amended - May 23, 1985

Amended - December 9, 1985

Amended - October 22, 1990


Formerly B-1 and B-2


Adopted - December 13, 1993

Amended - February 27, 1995

Amended – March 22, 1999


Formerly B-1