September 28, 2023

John Wayne Airport Celebrates 100 Years of Flight in Orange County

John Wayne Airport (JWA) proudly announces a momentous celebration marking a century of flight in Orange County. With a legacy that has contributed significantly to the region's growth and development, JWA is set to commemorate this historic milestone with engaging events and activities that will resonate with the local community and travelers alike.

The story of aviation in Orange County traces back to the original Eddie Martin Airport, a private landing strip built in the 1920s by aviation pioneer Eddie Martin. In 1923, Martin founded a flying school and Martin Aviation, one of the nation’s oldest aviation firms.

"I am thrilled to lead John Wayne Airport as we commemorate 100 Years of Flight in Orange County,” said Airport Director Charlene Reynolds. “This remarkable milestone reflects our strong aviation history and enduring commitment to our community and travelers with a superior guest experience. Join us in celebrating a century of connections, innovation, and the spirit of flight at John Wayne Airport."

Celebration Highlights include:

  • Board of Supervisors Meeting Presentation: In August, Supervisor Katrina Foley, Fifth District, officially kicked off the celebration with a proclamation at the Board of Supervisors Meeting. This symbolic launch set the stage for a multi-month celebration of flight.
  • Historical Art Exhibit: A captivating historical exhibit will be displayed at the Orange County Destination Arts & Culture area within the Thomas F. Riley Terminal from September through December. This exhibit will take visitors on a chronological journey, showcasing the evolution of aviation in Orange County.
  • Press Event: Sept. 28, a media-invite event at the Terminal will highlight JWA’s vital role in supporting air travel and commerce and its community presence in Orange County. Speakers at the event will include members of the Board of Supervisors, Airport Director Charlene Reynolds, and County Executive Officer Frank Kim.
  • Community Celebration Day: On Oct. 19, a special celebration day will be hosted throughout the Terminal, where travelers, guests, Terminal tenants, and Airport employees will enjoy live music, goodies, and giveaways to promote the 100th Celebration of Flight in Orange County and the Airport's distinguished history.
  • Guest Experience Activities: Travelers passing through JWA will enjoy a series of interactive activities throughout the celebration year. These include aviation-themed photo opportunities, promotional giveaways, and family-oriented events designed to inspire interest in aviation and its history. In collaboration with Airport tenants, a cup giveaway will run in October.
  • Surprise and Delight Airline Collaboration: In October, JWA will collaborate with airlines to surprise passengers with a commemorative souvenir. These lasting mementos will celebrate the occasion and create special memories for all who pass through John Wayne Airport.

John Wayne Airport's centennial celebration is a testament to its enduring significance in the Orange County community and the broader aviation industry. The celebration reflects a remarkable journey filled with achievements, innovations, and vision. JWA remains dedicated to providing exceptional service, contributing to economic growth, and continuing the aviation legacy for future generations.

For a chronological history celebrating 100 years of aviation in Orange County, please visit

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