• Serving Orange County, CA / USA
    John Wayne Airport
  • John Wayne Airport Information

    John Wayne Airport: 18601 Airport Way, Santa Ana, CA 92707

John Wayne Airport
John Wayne Airport


John Wayne Airport is an international airport that resides in Santa Ana, California. It covers 500.82 total acres and it serves both general aviation and commercial operations. It is the only commercial airport located in Orange County and it is located between Newport Beach, Irvine, and Costa Mesa. It is about 35 miles from Los Angeles and approximately 14 miles from the Disneyland Resort. The airport also serves local law enforcement air operations and medical flights. John Wayne Airport houses various general aviation facilities, a main commercial airline building divided into three terminals, and two paved runways. The main runway of the airport, 1L/19R, is 5,701 feet long and 150 feet wide, which is the shortest primary runway of any other major airport in the United States. This runway serves commercial aircraft and general aviation. The second runway, 1R/19L is 2,887 feet long and 75 feet wide and it serves general aviation and light aircraft. Due to a 1985 settlement agreement regarding how the noise of the airport affects the local community, the county prohibits commercial departures from 10PM to 7AM Monday through Saturday and 10PM to 8AM on Sundays. Commercial arrivals are prohibited between 11PM and 7AM Monday through Saturday and 11PM to 8AM on Sundays. John Wayne Airport served nearly 9 million total passengers in the year 2011. As passengers arrive on the lower level, a statue of John Wayne welcomes them.

Terminals & Parking

The Thomas F. Riley Terminal is the primary passenger terminal and it is named after the late county supervisor who pushed for expansion of the airport in the 1980s. The 730,505 square-foot terminal is split into three areas, A, B, and C and there are dedicated commuter gate sections at the northern part of Terminal A and southern part of Terminal C. All terminals are located within the same building. There are a total of 20 bridged passenger gates. Along with regular passenger services, Terminal C provides U.S. Customs and Border Protection Federal Inspection Service for international flights. Terminal A and Terminal B each have two baggage carousels and Terminal C has three. John Wayne Airport has four parking garages located in the main terminal area. The garages are labeled A1, A2, B2, and C. There is also an off airport parking lot available with shuttle service to the terminals. All parking areas are available for both short and long-term parking.

History of John Wayne Airport

John Wayne Airport traces its history back to 1923 when the first airstrip was constructed for use of teaching individuals how to fly. Its original name was Orange County Airport. During World War II, the airport served as a military base. Throughout the 1950’s, there were only a few flights available from Los Angeles to Phoenix. In the early 1960s, nonstop flights began to other destinations. In 1967, the Eddie Martin Terminal was built. It measured 22,000 square feet and was designed to accommodate around 400,000 passengers on a yearly basis. In 1974, two passenger holding areas were added to the terminal. In 1979, the airport changed its name to John Wayne Airport and the John Wayne Associates hired Robert Summers to create a bronze sculpture of the airport’s new namesake. A new baggage claim area was built in 1980 and a terminal annex building added in 1982. The Thomas F. Riley Terminal opened to the public in 1990 to replace the outdated Eddie Martin Terminal. It was a modern 337,900 square foot terminal featuring 14 loading bridges, four baggage claim carousels, large open areas, and separated roadside arrival and departure levels. In 2011, more terminal space was added to the airport and existing terminals were remodeled. A new parking lot was also added.

Airlines Serving John Wayne Airport

Serving as a gateway into the Los Angeles Area, John Wayne Airport in Orange County is served by major airline companies from North America. There is limited service available at John Wayne Airport because it is considered a regional airport that is an alternative to the busy Los Angeles International Airport. The Lower Level at John Wayne Airport is the Arrivals Area and the Upper Level is the Departure Area where all of the ticket desks are.

The longest list of destinations at John Wayne Airport is offered by Southwest Airlines. With a fleet of more than 550 jets, this Dallas based company has earned the title of the largest low-cost airline in the United States. Southwest Airlines links the Great Los Angeles Area with all three major cities in the San Francisco Bay Area; Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose. Additionally, this major low-cost airline operates flights between John Wayne Airport and California’s capital city of Sacramento. Denver, Las Vegas, and Phoenix are some of the other major cities that are accessible via Southwest Airlines service that is offered at Terminal C in John Wayne Airport.

From California’s Orange County, the main airports in Dallas and Chicago are the only destinations offered by American Airlines. This company is based in the Dallas-Fort Area region and considered one of the largest American carriers. American Airlines uses the gates in Terminal A at John Wayne Airport.

Based in Terminal A, Delta Air Lines is the only carrier to offer non-stop flights from John Wayne Airport to the southeast region of the United States. The airline with the world’s biggest fleet size provides flights to Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul in Minnesota and Utah’s capital city of Salt Lake City are the other destinations that are listed on the Delta Air Lines schedule in the main airport of Orange County, California.

United Airlines invites passengers at John Wayne Airport to board direct flights to the main airports in Chicago, Denver, Houston, and San Francisco. Additionally, the United Airlines trip to Newark is the second East Coast destination (after Delta flights to Atlanta) that’s offered at this airport. US Airways links the Los Angeles area with Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona. Both of these large American companies use Terminal B at John Wayne Airport.

Alaska Airlines and AirTran Airways are the other American airline companies serving Orange County, California. The Mexican low-cost company Interjet and Canadian low-cost carrier WestJet are the only international airlines that serve John Wayne Airport.