Protecting Small General Aviation at John Wayne Airport

John Wayne Airport will for the first time provide long-term protection for small general aviation, and transparency for the public, with the Fixed Based Operator Request for Proposals approved by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, September 10.

“This Request for Proposals will keep the Board’s promise to the community by designating 34.6 acres of the total 60.2 acre general aviation area solely for planes under a 49-foot wingspan or not exceeding 12,500 pounds,” said Michelle Steel, Vice Chair of the Board of Supervisors, who represents the Second District which includes John Wayne Airport. “20.5 of those acres are located at the Northeast Fixed Based Operation, in an area that today has no size restrictions and is home to a full service FBO and many large jets,” Steel said.

This RFP will not open the door to larger planes. It will – for the first time – limit the size of planes in the majority of the general aviation area.

The decision to use a 49-foot wingspan or 12,500 pounds is based on FAA regulations which define these sizes of planes as “Aircraft Design Group 1” and “small aircraft,” respectively.

“We’ve crafted this RFP to require all bidders to answer detailed questions about their plans,” added Steel. These include an operational plan for how the bidders will work with existing tenants, and a plan for managing the existing general aviation waiting list, as well as detailed layouts and plans of all structures and aircraft parking. Bidders will also be required to detail, among other things, their proposed hours of operation, any scheduled charter service, and their proposed rents for 40-foot, 50-foot, and 60-foot tie-downs, sunshades, 40-foot, 50-foot, and 60-foot individual hangars, and rent per aircraft type for shared common-use hangars.

To ensure transparency, the County will make Respondent’s questionnaire, conceptual renderings, and layouts available to the public after the evaluation panel’s scores have been completed and published and before voting to award a lease to any bidder.

“These portions of the RFP will require bidders to present, in detail, the structures and rents they propose. The evaluation panel, the public, and the Board of Supervisors will be able to review all of the proposals and select those that best accomplish the goal of preserving the existing mix of planes on the airport,” said Steel.