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Airplane Noise and Traffic

The Laguna Beach City Council and staff have, from the time that John Wayne Airport (JWA) became a commercial airport, worked to reduce the impact of aircraft noise on our residents. Our efforts have frequently been in cooperation with the City of Newport Beach and other noise impacted communities.

Recent efforts have been extremely successful in reducing the number and noise of commercial jets that fly over our community. In August 2014, more than 850 commercial jets flew over the 8.5 miles of coastline in Laguna Beach at elevations as low as 7,000 feet. In August 2017, fewer than 170 commercial jets flew over the City. Even with this very significant reduction in overflights and noise impacts, we remain committed to monitor all JWA programs and initiatives so that we can continue to protect our residents from JWA-generated aircraft to the maximum extent possible.

The FAA’s “Southern California Metroplex Initiative ” (Metroplex) is the most recent and most publicized event related to aircraft noise. In the “FAQ” sections below we provide a summary of Metroplex, why the City filed a legal challenge to the Metroplex and why we settled with the FAA. We also explain how our settlement compares with the one between the FAA and Newport Beach and how we monitor compliance with the settlement. After the Metroplex discussion, we provide information on a broader range of related topics related to the practical and legal limitations on aircraft operations and noise.

Finally, we briefly discuss legislation that effectively prevents imposition of aircraft noise or access restrictions – even by the owner of an airport. The aircraft noise issue is complex and highly technical. This relatively short presentation attempts to provide some of the most important facts that are relevant to the sources of aircraft noise in Laguna Beach. While this webpage may not provide all the information you might want, we believe our responses to the frequently asked questions below will serve as a starting point for anyone who wants to better understand this complicated issue.

If you have questions, please submit them to AskLaguna or send an email to JFrimond@lagunabeachcity.net.

Item Data
Term Phase 1: 1/1/16 - 12/31/20
Phase 2: 1/1/21 - 12/31/25
Phase 3: 1/1/26 - 12/31/30
Average Daily Departures (ADDs)
Phase 1: 85 Class A ADD
Phase 2/3: 95 Class A ADD
4 Class A All-Cargo ADD
Million Annual Passengers (MAP)
Phase 1: 10.8 MAP
Phase 2: 11.8 MAP
Phase 3: 12.2 MAP
(Phase 2 and 3 MAP subject to complex conditions/events)
Terminal No Limit
Departure Lounge No Limit
Parking No Limit
Loading Bridges Phase 1: 20
Phase 2/3: No Limit