A Los Angeles judge late Wednesday granted a temporary restraining order allowing American Airlines to continue to park a third jetliner overnight at John Wayne Airport.
The action by U.S. District Judge Mariana R. Pfaelzer came as the result of a lawsuit, filed earlier in the day by the airline, that claimedd Orange County's refusal to allow a third plane overnight would jeopardize a daily 8:20 a.m. American flight to Phoenix and Chicago.
American has been parking three jetliners overnight at the airport since December of 1983, but county officials have recently been enforcing a rule that allowed American only two slots in an authorized overnight parking area for jets just west of the passenger terminal.
As a result, the airline began keeping its third jet overnight on space leased by a private aircraft maintenance firm, UCO Air, south of the main jet ramp, a plan that the county vetoed because officials said it still violated a lid on the number of jetliners allowed to remain overnight anywhere at the airport.
County officials have said that they are strictly enforcing the limit on the number of jets allowed to remain overnight because it is required as part of a settlement agreement with Newport Beach that cleared the way for limited expansion of the airport.
Controlling the number of overnight planes helps control the number of noisy early-morning jet departures, county officials say.
The county recently negotiated an agreement with Continental and Western airlines to temporarily keep extra planes overnight, but the agreement requires them to make plans soon to keep those planes elsewhere and ferry them in for passengers in the morning.