Advertisement

Airport group hopes to extend covenant

Moorlach addresses annual meeting and is optimistic about keeping regulations in place past 2015.

March 03, 2011|By Mike Reicher, mike.reicher@latimes.com

Editor's note: This corrects the first two paragraphs. The curfew will remain in place until 2020.

NEWPORT BEACH — It seems like a long time from now, but by 2015 Newport Beach residents could be hearing more jets take off each day from John Wayne Airport.

That would be an extreme outcome if local officials and activists fail in their negotiations to continue a cap on flights and other limits to John Wayne Airport, which expire at the end of that year.

Advertisement

It seems like a long time from now, but by 2015 Newport Beach residents could be hearing jet noise during all hours of the night.

That would be an extreme outcome if local officials and activists fail in their negotiations to continue a flight curfew and other limits to John Wayne Airport, which expire at the end of that year.

In the meantime, officials are planning for discussions with the Federal Aviation Administration and air carriers, with the hopes of extending the 1985 agreement.

At the annual Airport Working Group meeting Wednesday, officials outlined their concerns and goals in maintaining caps on passengers and flights, and to preserve the time limits at the county-owned airport.

AWG is a party to the original agreement.

"Working on the settlement agreement will be my top priority," said County Supervisor John Moorlach, who was reelected in November to a four-year term. "We're just going to have a goal of 10.8 [million passengers] and go from there."

Moorlach, who represents Costa Mesa, Newport Beach and other communities, was referring to the current annual passenger cap, which is higher than the current number of passengers passing through the gates. In 2010, the airport served 8.7 million passengers.

While some activists suggested the airport have a lower passenger cap to reflect the current counts, airport Director Alan Murphy said that goal was unrealistic.

"I fully expect passenger levels will go back up," he said.

The biggest pressure to loosen the limits will come from the air carriers. Last month, the FAA released a report that predicted U.S. airlines will double their business in the next 20 years.

Airlines charge a premium to fly from JWA, where more affluent travelers are able to pay, Murphy said.

Newport Councilman Steve Rosansky said that convincing airlines to accept the limits will be a major hurdle.

"There are a lot of companies that like regulation because it keeps competitors out," he said optimistically.

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles
|
|
|