JWA upgrades computer systems, ticket counters

John Wayne Airport will modernize its computer systems and ticketing counters in a $24-million project approved Tuesday by the County Board of Supervisors

It's part of the larger airport improvements underway that include the construction of a 280,000-square-foot terminal, the third at the airport.

This technology upgrade will allow airlines to access flight and passenger information at any of the gates and any of the ticket counters; currently they're limited to specific computers.

"It gives us a lot more flexibility in moving the airlines around," airport spokeswoman Jenny Wedge said.

For their part, passengers will get new flight monitors and new self-service kiosks that work for any airline. Currently passengers have to check in at their specific airline's location.

The renovation's competitive-bidding process ended in controversy when the least expensive bidder was disqualified for lacking a required license. Instead, the next qualified construction company, Snyder Langston, was awarded the contract for $23.7 million, which was about $750,000 more than the original winner.

"Maybe we're getting a little more quality for the bid," said Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach, who represents the airport area.

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