Why Airport Is Busier Than ‘Rules’ Allow

Under the current airline access plan at John Wayne Airport, commercial jets are allowed an average 55 regulated flights a day--a limit generally expressed as the 55 ADD (for average daily departure) rule.

But airlines are actually flying an average of 96 daily flights, according to Airport Manager George Rebella.

The new access plan being developed this month to carry the airport from 1990 to 2005 will expand the number of regulated flights to 73.

But the airlines will actually be flying somewhere between 115 and 160 daily flights, Rebella said.



Basically, only flights by certain types of aircraft--those that generate the most noise on takeoff--are limited under the ADD rules. They are called Class A and Class AA flights.

Other flights--some permanent and some awarded to various airlines on a quarterly “supplemental” basis--are not counted because they are flown with the quietest jet engines available.

These Class E (for exempt) flights are what boost the actual totals well beyond the regulated ADD limits in the plan. The only limit on these Class E flights is that they cannot be used to increase the total number of passengers flown in and out of the airport beyond the annual cap established in the access plan. Currently, that is 4.75 million passengers a year. Under the new plan, the number jumps to 8.4 million annually.


Thus, regular Class A, AA and E flights are granted to individual airlines for the life of the allocation plan. Supplemental flights are granted periodically to enable the airlines to increase their passenger loads to fly the maximum number of passengers each year.