No noise violation notices for commercial carriers at JWA since 2006, airport official says at Newport forum


John Wayne Airport hasn’t issued a notice of a noise violation to a commercial air carrier since 2006.

Nick Gaskins, manager of the airport’s Access and Noise Office, shared that fact at an airport issues forum Friday afternoon in Newport Beach, to audible surprise in the audience.

About 80 people turned out for the forum, where Gaskins gave a broad overview of how his five-person department enforces the operational and noise restrictions required by the landmark 1985 settlement agreement that regulates noise and the amount of air traffic allowed at John Wayne.


Gaskins said the airport measures and enforces violations to within 0.1 decibels, though generally, the human ear doesn’t detect changes of less than 3 decibels.

Commercial carriers are rated — and thus potentially can receive a notice of violation — on a quarterly average.

General-aviation violations — which numbered 140 last year, mostly with first-time offenders — can result from a single event.

Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel was scheduled to co-host the forum but did not appear. Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff said the city was informed Thursday night that Steel wouldn’t be present, but it didn’t know why.

That seemed to disappoint some people in attendance who said they had questions for the supervisor. The county owns and operates John Wayne Airport.

One woman wanted to know if airlines could be offered incentives to fly newer, quieter planes out of JWA. She asked a Steel assistant who attended in the supervisor’s place to ask her if she can be more involved.

Others in the crowd seemed more interested in discussing differences they’ve noticed in noise since shifts in flight paths were implemented in the past two years as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s nationwide NextGen modernization and efficiency program.

The FAA this month settled lawsuits that the cities of Newport Beach and Laguna Beach filed in 2016 over departure patterns.

Additional airport issues forums in Newport Beach are scheduled for February and March. JWA matters also are on the agenda for the City Council’s annual planning session Monday.

Twitter: @Daily_PilotHD