Orange County Airports
Due to Los Angeles’ status as a major city of the United States East Coast, and Orange County’s proximity to it, the county is served by multiple airports. In this article, we’ll be talking about the international ones, and the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Area (which includes Orange County) is served by three of them! These are:
- Los Angeles International Airport (IATA: LAX, ICAO: KLAX) is owned by the city of Los Angeles. The airport is located in the west of the city and is, by far, the busiest airport that serves the city. It is the sixth busiest commercial airport in the world and the third busiest in the United States; in 2016, LAX handled over 80 million passengers and 2 million tons of cargo.
- Ontario International Airport (IATA: ONT, ICAO: KONT) is located to the east of Los Angeles in the bedroom community city of Ontario, California, and is owned by the city of Ontario and the county of San Bernardino, under a Joint Powers Agreement. It serves the Inland Empire, and is the next most prominent airport after LAX.
- John Wayne Airport (IATA: SNA, ICAO: KSNA) is located to the south-east of Los Angeles, in the city of Santa Ana, in the northern part of Orange County. It offers limited international service.
First off, we’ll talk about the busiest airport in the metropolitan area, that is, Los Angeles International Airport.
LAX is located south of the Westchester district of the City of Los Angeles, California, 18 miles (30 km) southwest of Downtown Los Angeles, between the district of Westchester to its immediate north, the city of El Segundo to its immediate south and the city of Inglewood to its immediate east. It is owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), an agency of the government of Los Angeles, formerly known as the Department of Airports. Covering 3,500 acres of land, LAX is also notable for its four parallel runways.
In 2017, LAX handled 84,557,968 passengers, making it the world’s fifth busiest and the United States’ second busiest airport following Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. As the largest and busiest international airport on the U.S. West Coast, LAX is a major international gateway to the United States, and also serves a connection point for some passengers traveling internationally. The airport holds the record for the world’s busiest origin and destination airport, since relative to other airports, many more travelers begin or end their trips in Los Angeles than use it as a connection. It is also the only airport to rank among the top five U.S. airports for both passenger and cargo traffic.
LAX serves as a hub or focus city for more passenger airlines than any other airport in the United States. It is the only airport that four U.S. legacy carriers (Alaska, American, Delta, and United) have designated as a hub and is a focus city for Air New Zealand, Allegiant Air, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Qantas, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and Volaris.
Next on the list, is Ontario International Airport, this is a public airport two miles east of downtown Ontario, a city in San Bernardino County, California, US, about 38 miles (61 km) east of Downtown Los Angeles and 23 miles west of Downtown San Bernardino, the county seat. It is currently owned and operated under a joint powers agreement with the city of Ontario and San Bernardino County. The year 2007 saw the peak in passenger traffic with 7.2 million passengers. More recently, in 2015, 4.2 million passengers used the airport, slightly higher than in 2014 with 4.1 million passengers.
Then there’s John Wayne Airport, it is an international airport in Orange County, California, United States, with its mailing address in the city of Santa Ana, hence the IATA airport code. The entrance to the airport is off MacArthur Blvd in Irvine, the city that borders the airport on the north and east. Newport Beach and Costa Mesa form the southern and western boundaries along with a small unincorporated area along the Corona del Mar (73) Freeway. Santa Ana is just north, not actually touching the airport. Originally named Orange County Airport, the county Board of Supervisors renamed it in 1979 to honor actor John Wayne, who lived in neighboring Newport Beach and died that year.
The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015 categorized it as a primary commercial service airport since it has over 10,000 passenger boardings per year. Federal Aviation Administration records say the airport had 4,584,147 enplanements in calendar year 2014, an increase from 4,450,628 in 2013.
John Wayne International Airport is the sole commercial airport in Orange County. General aviation operations outnumber commercial operations and several facilities at the airport serve the general aviation and corporate aviation community. The other general aviation airport in the county is Fullerton Municipal Airport. Other commercial airports nearby are Hollywood Burbank Airport, Long Beach Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and Ontario International Airport. In 2014, John Wayne Airport was the second busiest airport in the Greater Los Angeles area (by passenger count) with over 9 million total passengers.
As of 2015, the largest airlines at John Wayne Airport were Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Delta Air Lines.
The main runway, at 5,701 feet, is one of the shortest of any major airport in the United States, and passenger airliners at the airport have never been larger than the Boeing 757. (Some larger cargo aircraft fly from SNA, such as the FedEx A310/300.) Some gates are built to handle planes up to the size of a Boeing 767, which could operate with payload/fuel load restrictions. No wide-body passenger airliners have ever been scheduled at SNA.
John Wayne Airport is 14 miles from Orange County’s main attraction – the Disneyland Resort. (Los Angeles International Airport is 35 miles from Disneyland.)
A statue of John Wayne, the airport’s eponym, welcomes passengers in the arrivals area on the lower level.