JWA sees more passengers in 2012

Over the course of last year, John Wayne Airport saw more than 8.85 million passengers pass through its gates — a 2.9% increase over the 8.6 million passengers in 2011, an airport traffic report said.

The number of travelers passing through JWA's gates last holiday season also jumped, by 5.5%, over the same time in 2011, according to the report.

In December 2011, a total of 697,512 passengers got on and off planes at JWA, the report said. In December 2012, that number increased to 735,626.

"The addition of service to three new destinations in Mexico by AirTran and Interjet helped contribute to this growth," Airport Director Alan L. Murphy said in a statement. "The overall increase in passengers, however, reflects both the new international service and improvements in the general domestic travel market."

Total aircraft operations increased in 2012 over the prior year by 1.1%, with 255,688 flights taking off or landing, over 252,943 in 2011.

But within those operations, commuter plane take-offs and landings dropped by 17.5%.

Commuter plane activity in December 2012 versus December 2011 also decreased, by 14.9%.

General aviation activity (non-commercial operations, including private planes), which made up about 67% of 2012's flights, increased by 1.2% over 2011.

According to the terms of the airport's settlement agreement, passenger counts are capped at 10.8 million per year, although officials say they don't expect to ever reach that limit.

— Jill Cowan

Twitter: @jillcowan

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