September 15 - September 21, 2014

John Wayne expansion plans get commission go-ahead
- OC Register

The Orange County Airport Commission voted 3-0 Wednesday in support of a proposed John Wayne expansion project which was essentially a compromise between the airport and the surrounding community.

Commissioners had a chance to review the environmental impact report, which addressed 10 categories of impacts as a result of the project, including noise, traffic and air pollution.

Airport Director Alan Murphy explained to commissioners and the public that the proposed project will not affect the early-morning and late-night noise curfews established in 1971. The noise curfews would remain in effect until 2035, he said.

Newport Beach Mayor Rush Hill said this agreement is “a tremendous victory for residents.” 

Website Editor: It is a "tremendous victory" for the nearby residents but we have not heard any comparable "victory" statement from the flying public or airlines that utilize John Wayne Airport.  The airlines requested an agreement that allows higher levels of service.

“The airport issue has been the largest threat to our quality of life,” he said. “What we’ve accomplished here is two-fold — no change in noise curfews until 2035 and no change in anything for the next five years.”

The settlement agreement is the second extension of the original 1985 airport agreement, which expires Dec. 31, 2015.

The Airport Commission’s recommendation will go before the Orange County Board of Supervisors for a vote Sept. 30.

Bob Hope Airport sees slight bump in passengers - Burbank Leader

After a two-month dip in passengers at Bob Hope Airport, there was a 1.2% increase in July compared to the same month last year, despite a 4.7% drop in available seats, according to the latest passenger report released Monday by the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority.

Though passenger traffic was up for the month, the airlines had 23,000 fewer seats available during July compared to the same month last year. The decline is consistent with a general trend in recent years, as airlines tighten their schedules and shift to smaller, more fuel-efficient aircraft that typically have fewer seats.

July's numbers also reflect the impact of federally mandated safety work that has closed two of four runways at San Francisco International Airport since May, leading carriers to reduce the number of flights on the Burbank-to-San Francisco route.

Other airports in the region also reported increases in passenger tallies for July, except for Long Beach Airport, which has had slumping numbers each month this year. It saw a 1% decline in passengers in July.

The number of passengers at Ontario International Airport rose by 7.57%, while there was a 6.26% hike at Los Angeles International Airport and a 0.4% uptick at John Wayne Airport in Orange County.

More passengers, flights at JWA by 2030? - Daily Pilot
Airport panel to discuss limits today

The annual passenger limit would increase incrementally from the current 10.8 million to 12.2 million or 12.5 million by 2026. The number of passenger flights would increase incrementally from an average of 85 daily departures to 95 by 2030.

The Airport Commission is scheduled to meet at 5 p.m. at the airport's administrative offices, 3160 Airway Ave., Costa Mesa.

The commission's recommendation will be passed along to the Orange County Board of Supervisors for a vote Sept. 30.

Orange County planners recommended approval of a draft environmental impact report for the extension Sept. 10.

September 8 - September 14, 2014

Mexican discount airline targets L.A. area- LA Register

Two months after Mexican airline Interjet bolted from John Wayne Airport following a lukewarm reception by travelers, an up-and-coming rival airline says it
Mexican discount airline targets L.A. area wants to give the Orange County airport a shot.

Volaris, an ultralow-cost Mexican carrier, is a more extreme version of Southwest or JetBlue Airways. It charges for everything from a can of soda to luggage, and packs customers into its planes, so it can strip the advertised price of a ticket down to the bone.

It’s taking aim at stimulating the market in the Latino-rich Los Angeles region for leisure travelers and those who visit family and friends in Mexico and the U.S.

“John Wayne is certainly on our radar,” said Holger Blankenstein, chief commercial officer of Mexico City-based Volaris, the second-biggest airline in Mexico. “I would suspect that within 12 to 24 months we could see some operations at John Wayne.”

Since entering the California market five years ago, Volaris has established beachheads at Los Angeles International Airport as well as airports in Ontario, Fresno, Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego and San Jose.

September 1 - September 7, 2014

County responds to comments on JWA EIR

Complying with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA),  the county has prepared voluminous responses to hundreds of comments on the John Wayne Airport DEIR 617.  The comments and responses are available for review online at http://www.ocair.com/settlementagreement/deir617/responses-to-comments

As is usual, the responses tend to brush off suggestions that challenge the preferred alternative negotiated between the County and Newport Beach.

Southwest Airlines commented that:

The SNA Airline Airport Affairs Committee (AAAC), comprised of airlines serving SNA,  proposed Alternative B over a year ago after numerous discussions with the Airport and other County representatives.  The AAAC's efforts in developing this alternative were to recognize the noise and environmental concerns of those communities surrounding the Airport, while also attempting to meet the projected air service demands of those same communities.

The airline also comments that the environmental impacts are "overstated."  "Quieter, lower emitting aircraft technology will likely be developed over the next decade.  We want to ensure that the County recognizes this technology development and does not unnecessarily restrict the airlines from meeting the air service demands of the communities surrounding SNA."

The County responded by defended the DEIR conclusions regarding environmental impacts.

The Editor of this website commented that the DEIR analysis considers only trips to and from JWA.  "It ignores the fact that allowing increased levels of service at JWA, projected as needed by the FAA during the period under study, will relieve Orange County air passengers from driving longer distances to Long Beach Airport, Ontario and to LAX" and that alternatives that provide greater utilization of JWA will "reduce traffic, reduce automotive pollution and save travelers' time."

The DEIR response acknowledges the comment but states that "it is difficult to precisely predict what choices Orange County residents and visitor might make absent additional capacity at JWA" and CEQA does not allow "speculation."

August 25 - August 31, 2014

Southwest adds O.C. service to Dallas

Southwest Airlines began booking its first nonstop flights between John Wayne Airport and Dallas, Love Field, on Monday and plans to boost its Orange County departures to their highest level ever over the next six months.
The Dallas flights, which begin Nov. 2, were made possible by the end of 35-year-old restrictions on flights from Dallas Love Field, Southwest’s home base.

Presently, the only non-stop service from Orange County to Texas is on American Airlines to Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport. The Southwest fares offered in November are lower than those on American for similar dates and times.

JWA passenger traffic improves with fewer large aircraft flown

Airline passenger traffic at John Wayne Airport increased in July 2014 as compared to July 2013. In July 2014, the Airport served 837,702 passengers, an increase of 0.4% when compared to the July 2013 passenger traffic count of 834,328.

Commercial aircraft operations decreased 5.3%, while commuter aircraft operations, utilizing smaller and quieter passenger aircraft, increased 131.9% when compared to July 2013 levels.

August 18 - August 24, 2014

Travelers decline at Bob Hope Airport
- Burbank Leader

The number of passengers at Bob Hope Airport dipped by almost 1% in June compared to a year ago, according to the latest report.

That followed a 3.43% decrease in passengers in May.

For the first six months of this year, the airport has handled roughly 1.89 million passengers, a 1.45% decrease from about 1.91 million passengers during the same time period last year.

Passenger tallies were on the rise at other airports in the region in June, except Long Beach Airport, which reported a 2.8% decline.

The number of passengers at Los Angeles International Airport rose by 6.7%, while there was a 5.8% hike at Ontario International Airport and a 1.2% uptick at John Wayne Airport in Orange County.

August 11 - August 17, 2014

Freeing Ontario Airport won't be cheap, fast or easy
- OC Register
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s willingness to transfer control of Ontario International Airport from the city of L.A. to a local airport authority gave Inland residents reason to cheer.

The airport has lost nearly 50 percent of its passenger volume since 2007 under the oversight of Los Angeles World Airports, a division of Los Angeles city government.

Ontario officials believe that with local control, they can begin to revive the airport through cost-cutting, airline incentives, better marketing and other measures.

But even with Garcetti backing local-control, transferring the airport from L.A. to the fledgling Ontario International Airport Authority is no simple matter.

He will have to convince the L.A. City Council, and perhaps the L.A. Board of Airport Commissioners, to go along. Even with talks under way, reaching an agreement is likely to take time and consummate diplomacy. L.A. officials need to be assured the city will be made whole on its investment.

Even before Garcetti went public with his support for local control of ONT, Los Angeles and Ontario officials were trying to negotiate an agreement on how such a transfer could take place.

At the same time, Ontario’s lawsuit against L.A. for alleged mismanagement and failure to attract more airlines and flights to Ontario continues in Riverside County Superior Court. More . . .

August 4 - August 10, 2014

John Wayne Airport can do more, grand jury finds -
OC Register
The Orange County Board of Supervisors would usually have 90 days, which would be late September in this case, to either agree or disagree with grand jury's recommendations. The county executive officer, however, has requested a six-month extension, which would give them until the end of the year.  (See yesterday's website article below)

John Wayne Airport’s flights and parking are expensive, and if it wasn’t hampered by decades-old [regulatory] structures, it could make the county’s economy move and work faster.

The grand jury recommended extending one runway to accommodate heavier planes, lowering long-term parking fees, instituting policies to woo more business and leisure travelers, and building a special lot for motorists waiting to pick up passengers.

Supervisor John Moorloch, whose district includes neighboring Newport Beach, said he found the grand jury recommendations baffling. “It doesn’t reflect what the community is pursuing,” he said. “Increasing use of Ontario Airport has been the focus, and that’s where it should be.”

Website Editor:  We agreed with utilizing Ontario airport first when Newport Beach pushed for a commercial airport at the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station and we still support greater utilization of Ontario. However, the inland airport is not readily accessible from much of Orange County and little has been done to improve the access.

The report comes at a critical juncture. Late next month, the Orange County Board of Supervisors is expected to approve an environmental study of a proposed amendment to the landmark Settlement Agreement that has capped flights and passenger levels since 1985. The amendment, considered crucial to those who live under the flight path, also reinforces nighttime flight curfews at the regional airport.

The report took aim at the pending Settlement Agreement in several areas. In one, they referenced an airfare study that concluded, “Orange County passengers can expect little or no airfare relief in the future if the Settlement Agreement continues to limit the number of flights and passengers in the face of growing demand for air travel.”

The grand jury didn’t explain why its report coincided with the pending Settlement Agreement. The panel also doesn’t, as a rule, make itself available for interviews.

Melinda Seely, who heads a group working to curb airport expansion, was interviewed. The Newport Beach resident said she was surprised and puzzled by the grand jury’s recommendations.  “We have been working so hard to contain the airport at its current levels,” said Seely, the president of AirFair. When she read the report, she said, “it was like what planet are they on?”

County puts off dealing with Grand Jury recommendations for John Wayne Airport

On June 27, the Orange County Grand Jury released a report entitled Maximizing the Benefits of John Wayne Airport to Better Serve Orange County. 

On July 7, Supervisor John Moorlach, whose district includes Newport Beach and Costa Mesa, posted this message on his Internet blog:

"Regretfully, it appears that our current Orange County Grand Jury missed the point of finding an appropriate balance, did not consider the recent impact of the economy on air travel, and underestimated the tremendous amount of work done by local community groups, the city of Newport Beach and the County, including my office. I guess that’s what happens when nineteen people get to be experts for twelve months."

On July 17, Michael Giancola, County Executive Officer, requested that the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court grant a 6 month extension for the County's response to the Grand Jury without providing reasons for the delay. Presumably this will excuse the County, Airport Manager and Board of Supervisors from dealing with the Grand Jury recommendations until after the County - Newport Beach negotiated limits on the utilization of JWA have moved forward towards adoption.

Traffic soars 6.5% at Los Angeles International - Airport World

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has reported that total passenger traffic during the first six months of 2014 rose 6.5% to 34,336,315 passengers from 32,217,517 during the same period last year.

While there was a 5.6% growth in domestic passengers to 25,062,714 from 23,715,708 last year, international traffic grew by 9% to 9,273,601 passengers from 8,501,809 in 2014.

Air cargo tonnage levels stayed about the same with 951,772 during the first six months of this year compared to 950,783 during the same period last year, while air mail tonnage decreased 1.3% to 35,613 tonnes from 36,115 tonnes in 2014, and freight was slightly up 0.16% to 916,159 tonnes this year from 914,668 tons in 2013.

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