John Wayne Airport

Owned and operated by the County of Orange.  The airport was originally a private landing strip built in 1930’s by pioneer Eddie Martin on The Irvine Company Land.  In 1923 Martin founded a flying school and Martin Aviation, one of the nation’s oldest aviation firms.  

In 1967, the first terminal building for commercial passengers was constructed and named for Eddie Martin. The Eddie Martin Terminal was demolished in 1994, since replaced by the aforementioned Riley Terminal.  On June 19, 1950, the first commercial drag strip, the Santa Ana Drag, was started on a runway at the airport and ran every Sunday. Due to increased air traffic, the strip closed in 1959.  In 1979 the Orange County Board of Supervisors renamed the airport John Wayne Airport.  On September 16, 1990, the Thomas F. Riley Terminal was opened to the public.

The airport occupies 500 acres.  In 2001, 7.3 million passengers served.  Approximately 270 daily air carrier arrivals and departures.  The terminal is 337,000 square feet and has 14 loading bridges.  The airport has developed one of the most stringent access and noise abatement programs in the country.

John Wayne Airport was designated an Orange County Local Historical Civil Engineering Landmark in 2011 and the plaque is located in the Lower Level Terminal 'B', John Wayne Airport, Santa Ana, CA


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