Sounding Off: El Toro airport would have been a loser

Let me be the first one to give kudos to Donald Nyre for finally writing a letter without his tired old trademark mention of "turn on the lights" at El Toro ("Mailbag: More JWA passengers not wanted," Aug. 27). Also, kudos to Nyre for finally realizing what most of the county has known all along: we never did and never will need additional airport capacity.

He affirmed this by saying, "Next year's capacity limit of 10.8 million annual passengers is not expected to be reached until 2022, according to the FAA's latest Terminal Area Forecast for John Wayne Airport."

Had El Toro been built, it would be a huge money loser as a mere 10.8 million passengers transferred a mere seven miles down the road would not generate sufficient revenue to offset the billions required in start up and operational costs. Not to mention all the millions already spent on improvements to John Wayne Airport, such as Terminal C and other feathers in the cap.

If somehow there was a need for an immense amount of capacity at El Toro, then Newport Beach would have been far more impacted by it than by John Wayne. Airline pilots have the final say on which way they take off. The majority of the time they would fly west over flat terrain into the wind, not heading east with a tailwind over rising terrain as proposed by the politically correct county plan. With two parallel runways pointing west, Newport Beach would have received a double-barreled shotgun barrage of jets coming at them non-stop around the clock. El Toro would either have been an economical disaster due to low usage, or it would have been an environmental disaster due to high usage. Either way, we lose.

Maybe John Wayne can be a minor nuisance at times, but think about it — it really is a fairly watered-down airport. It has a curfew, noise abatement procedures, and is limited to using about 75% of its daytime capacity. The difference between John Wayne and El Toro is like having Bambi in your backyard instead of Godzilla. The damage done from cute little Bambi would be limited to her simply eating your garden. Godzilla on the other hand…

For those who do reside in the 65 CNEL (Community Noise Equivalency Level) noise contour, the federal government has a wonderful "Quieter Home Program" where people's homes are soundproofed entirely free of charge. This program is financed entirely from airport user fees. For example, San Diego Airport participates in this program. For more information, please visit

Lastly, had El Toro been built, Orange County would not have The Great Park, which has a balloon with breathtaking views and world class acts like The Rockettes, and Cirque Du Soleil. I encourage people to come visit the park, if they have not done so already. You will not be disappointed.

Stephen Stewart


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