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November 2013 was a little slower for JWA

December 26, 2013|By Jill Cowan

Traffic through John Wayne Airport declined in November 2013 in nearly all categories compared with November 2012, according to a monthly report.

The airport's total number of passengers decreased by 1.6%, from 750,800 in November 2012 to 739,031 last month, while total commercial operations declined by 4.5%, from 6,654 to 6,357, the report said.

Those figures include international traffic through JWA, which also fell last month, compared with the same period last year.

In November 2012, which was one of the first months to see JWA's full range of flights to Mexico up and running, 30,125 total international passengers passed through the airport. Last month, that number dropped by almost 16%, to 25,334.

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General aviation, too, saw a decrease in November, with a 3.3% decrease in operations, from 12,885 to 12,464.

An airport spokeswoman said there didn't seem to be one factor in particular that led to the drop in activity.

The decrease in total travelers was split about evenly between domestic and international passengers, Rachel Gibson wrote in an email, and this year to date, traffic has "grown steadily."

"We expect that JWA will serve more total passengers in 2013 than we did in 2012," she wrote.

According to the report, so far this year, the number of total passengers to board and deplane at JWA has increased by 4%, from 8,122,318 January through November 2012, to 8,443,447 January 2013 through last month.

Officials have said that the airport is not, however, expected to hit its 10.8-million annual passenger cap — part of the operating restrictions set in the JWA settlement agreement between the county, which operates the airport, the city of Newport Beach and local advocacy groups who hoped to limit the airport's noise on neighboring residents.

Total operations may increase again next year, as county officials court airlines to offer direct flights to Hawaii, Washington, D.C., and Mexico. Earlier this month, the Orange County Board of Supervisors approved a $1.3-million incentive package in an effort to attract carriers.

In June, airport director Alan Murphy told members of the Newport Beach business community that reinstating service to Hawaii and adding flights to D.C. were top priorities.

He called D.C. JWA's "No. 1 current unserved market."

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