John Wayne Airport (JWA) is committed to upholding best practices in environmental responsibility and has been an industry leader in implementing policies that provide both sustainability and cost effectiveness. JWA has adopted a variety of environmental policies and practices including:

Air Quality

The Airport has implemented measures to reduce emissions generated by aircraft and by vehicles using the Airport, including:

  • Encouraging the use of low-emission electric vehicles and support equipment on the commercial ramp.
  • Provision of electric preconditioned air units for use by commercial aircraft and ground-based electrical power in place of jet-fueled on-board Auxiliary Power Units (APUs). The ground-based units burn about 10 times less fuel than APUs, resulting in lower costs and carbon emissions.
  • Installation of electric charging stations for ground service equipment and Airport vehicles.
  • Requirement that fleet vehicles, such as taxi cabs and parking shuttles, operate clean burning compressed natural gas (CNG) or other cleaner burning fuel alternatives. JWA's taxi provider, Orange County Yellow Cab, uses 100 percent CNG vehicles.


The Airport currently recycles half of the refuse from aircraft, and more than half from the Riley Terminal and supporting facilities.

  • New waste management containers have been placed throughout all three terminals for the recycling of plastic, glass, aluminum cans and paper products.
  • Trash from aircraft is segregated off-site by the wastemanagement contractor and the recyclable materials are recycled.
  • JWA and tenants recycle used fuel and oils.

Pollution Prevention / Water Quality

An Airport-wide Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) is strictly enforced and includes the following:

  • Diversion of air-side storm water runoff through oil-water separators before leaving Airport property.
  • Rigorous testing of on-site fuel tanks to prevent leaks.
  • Regular training of Airport employees and tenants in containment, clean-up and pollution prevention techniques.
  • Use of site-specific structural and non-structural Best Management Practices to reduce the potential for pollutants to contaminate storm water discharges.
  • Monitoring of pesticides and fertilizers for appropriate use.

John Wayne Airport Annual Stormwater Training Resources

Energy Efficiency

The Airport utilizes energy efficient design and materials both in the terminal and on the airfield.

  • Design of the Thomas F. Riley Terminals A and B, opened in 1990, included vaulted ceilings, skylights and windows from ceiling-to-floor to increase the use of natural lighting and reduce energy needs.
  • Use of LED lights on the airfield that meets all FAA safety standards and reduces both maintenance and energy costs.
  • Transition to LED lighting in the Riley Terminal.
  • Construction of a Central Utility Plant completed in late 2010 provides chilled and hot water to the Riley Terminal complex allowing the Airport to greatly reduce its carbon footprint and provide its own electricity.

Water Conservation

JWA implements a variety of water conservation initiatives, including:

  • Utilization of low-flow toilets and urinals, automatic faucets and flushing sensors in Riley Terminal restrooms.
  • Diversion of runoff from construction sites and Airport grounds to an on-site retaining basin that directly recharges groundwater aquifers and reduces storm water runoff.
  • Monitoring of irrigation system for more efficient watering of Airport landscaping.
  • Implementation of a plan for dry washing of aircraft and limiting use of water to only a final rinse with de-ionized water.
  • Testing of on-site fire engines by spraying the water into grassy areas to increase groundwater percolation into the County aquifers.

Noise Abatement

John Wayne Airport has one of the most stringent aircraft access and noise monitoring programs in the United States and the world. Noise abatement at JWA is carried out using the following standards, guidelines and tools:

  • Compliance with the Phase 2 Commercial Airline Access Plan and Regulation (Access Plan), resulting from the 1985 Settlement Agreement and 2003 Amendment, places restrictions on operational capacity, hours of operations and noise levels.
  • General Aviation operations are permitted 24 hours daily subject to compliance with daytime noise limits and the more restrictive nighttime noise limits, as documented in the General Aviation Noise Ordinance.
  • Utilization of a state-of-the-art noise monitoring system that enables JWA to track each and every one of the 200,000+ air carrier and general aviation operations that occur each year at the Airport.
  • Availability of Access and Noise staff who receive and respond to noise complaints, requests for information and concerns of the community.