Is the expansion at John Wayne Airport necessary?

“Airports across the country are shelving or downsizing planned expansions because of a sharp drop in passengers, yet John Wayne Airport in Orange County is proceeding with a $652-million terminal project — its first major improvement since 1990,” according to the L.A. Times.

Airport officials and the O.C. Supervisors are saying that we need this expansion in order to “meet future demands for air travel and maintain the airport’s position as an attractive alternative to the much larger Los Angeles International Airport, which handled more than 61 million travelers last year.”

But, flights out of John Wayne Airport are limited by “1985 court settlement reached in a lawsuit brought by community activists and neighboring cities that challenged the airport’s master plan. The agreement set a passenger cap of 8.4 million per year, but subsequent amendments increased the limit to the current 10.3 million.”

“The misfortunes of the airline industry have prompted concerns that a third terminal at John Wayne might not be justified because passenger volumes have fallen 9.6% for the first 10 months of this year to 7,650,528, compared with the same time period last year. The airport handled about 9,980,000 passengers in 2007. Aviation consultants predict further declines the rest of this year and next.”

None other than Leonard Kranser, the man who almost singlehandedly stopped the El Toro Airport, says that the current John Wayne Airport can easily handle 10.3 million passengers.  He also told the L.A. Times that “the third terminal is a classic example of not following good business practices. They have no plans that I can discover to actually convert the additional terminal space and parking into more seats on planes — only more seats on the ground.”

Is this airport expansion a good idea?  Click here to read more about it.

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