Public Comment Sought on New Airport Noise Deal

Newport Beach officials announced a tentative agreement Thursday on noise and air traffic at John Wayne Airport, which would maintain the current ban on nighttime flights for the next 22 years and allow 12 percent more flights daily starting in 2021.

“We are very excited about the ability to preserve our vital curfew through 2035 (no risk of night flights through 2035!) and to have ‘status quo’ on [passenger and flight caps] through 2020,” City Manager Dave Kiff wrote in his Insider’s Guide email.

“If approved, we can rest assured that our nighttime and early morning peace and quiet will remain undisturbed for another generation,” Mayor Keith Curry declared in a statement.

The city is asking for public comment over the next year during a state-mandated environmental review process.

According to the Newport Beach city government, terms of the tentative deal include:

  • Extending current nighttime flights curfew (11 p.m. to 7 a.m., and 8 a.m. Sundays) through 2035.
  • Extending an annual cap of 10.8 million passengers through 2020.
  • Increasing the annual passenger cap by 1 million starting in 2021, and another raise of up to 700,000 per year starting in 2025.
  • Keeping the current cap on average daily flights through 2020: 85 passenger and four cargo flights per day.
  • Raising the average daily passenger flight cap for Class A, the loudest commercial planes, by 12 percent to 95 flights in 2021.

The tentative terms are expected to be approved in nonbinding form by the Newport Beach City Council March 25 and the county Board of Supervisors on April 9.

After that, an environmental analysis under the California Environmental Quality Act would begin, which is expected to take about a year.  The existing noise agreement expires at the end of 2015.

The John Wayne Airport website claims the airport “has one of the most stringent aircraft access and noise monitoring programs in the United States and the world."

The airport's flight path extends over some of the priciest real estate in Orange County.

For more information, contact:

  • Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff at 949-644-3001 or dkiff@newportbeachca.gov.
  • City Attorney Aaron Harp at 949-644-3131 or aharp@newportbeachca.gov.

Please contact Nick Gerda directly at ngerda@gmail.com  and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

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