Airline Flight Share Hearings Are Postponed
Hearings on the new flight allocation proposal for Orange County’s John Wayne Airport, originally set to begin Oct. 4, have been delayed two weeks to give several federal agencies more time to review the complex plan.
Jan Mittermeier, assistant airport manager, said officials of the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Transportation have not voiced objections to the plan.
“They just want more time to study it,” she said.
As of Wednesday--which had been the deadline for written comment on the airport staff’s access plan proposal--not a single comment had been submitted, Mittermeier said.
Mittermeier and others speculated that the lack of comment doesn’t mean that there are no objections to the new plan but rather that debate is being saved for the public hearings scheduled by the county Airport Commission and the Board of Supervisors--which has the final say on the proposal.
The public comment period has now been extended to Oct. 4. The hearing before the Airport Commission is now scheduled for Oct. 18 and the Board of Supervisors is to consider the plan on Oct. 25, Mittermeier said.
Most airlines have declined comment on the plan, but those that benefit most from the proposal--Braniff, Midway and American--voiced approval in interviews with the The Times. Under the plan, Braniff and Midway gain access to the airport for the first time and American maintains its dominance with more flights than any other carrier.
The plan--required under terms of the 1985 settlement of a noise damage suit filed against the airport by the city of Newport Beach--will establish how many daily flights the various airlines can fly from the airport for the next 15 years.
In all, the proposal recommends increasing the total number of commercial passenger jet flights per day to a maximum of 159 from the current limit of 96.