SANTA ANA, Calif. – For nearly half a century, John Wayne Airport (JWA) has operated two runways, a commercial runway – one left and one nine right (1L-19R) — and a general aviation runway – one right and one nine left (1R-19L). Runways can be used in both directions, and therefore have opposite 180° headings at each end (e.g. 1L-19R, 1R-19L). The two numbers always differ by 18 (= 180º).
Effective July 24, 2014, due to a gradual shift of the Earth’s magnetic poles, JWA’s runways will get new number designations. JWA’s commercial runway will become two left and two zero right (2L-20R), and the general aviation runway will become two right and two zero left (2R-20L).
While there is no impact to the general public, the change will require revision of FAA publications, runway markings and pilot charts.
Per the FAA Aeronautical Information Manual, a runway number is the whole number nearest one-tenth the magnetic bearing of the centerline of the runway, measured clockwise from the magnetic north. The magnetic north rotates about one degree every 12 years or five degrees every 60 years.
New signage and runway markings will be installed overnight on July 23, with the new designation in place on Thursday, July 24.
John Wayne Airport (SNA) is owned by the County of Orange and is operated as a self-supporting enterprise that receives no general fund tax revenue.