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John Wayne Airport passenger traffic dropped about 8% in December to 828,000 compared with December 2017.
Passenger traffic for the full year rose 2.3% to almost 10.7 million passengers, nearing the 10.8 million passenger cap at the county-owned facility. Last year 10.4 million passengers flew through the airport; in 2016 it was 10.5 million.
There were about 24,600 flights to and from the OC airport in December and nearly 317,000 for the full year, up 8% from 2017.
Commercial flights in December dipped 2.4% to about 7,600, and rose about 2% to some 92,000 in 2018.
Commuter flights, or scheduled flights on planes with fewer than 70 seats, surged 531% to 309 flights in December when compared to the year prior, and nearly tripled for the full year, largely due to JetSuiteX, a semi-charter service that began in the summer.
General aviation, which accounted for about 68% of total aircraft operations in December, increased 5.5% when compared with December 2017. Full-year activity is up 10% to about 222,000 flights.
International passengers totaled 15,000 on 160 flights for the month, down about 4% and 9%, respectively. Full-year totals are about 208,000 passengers on 2,000 flights, down 5% and 13%, respectively.
The three busiest airlines in December by passenger count were Southwest Airlines at 250,000; United at 137,000; and American at 135,000.
This is the first month in at least four years where United and American passenger counts combined exceeded Southwest’s.