John Wayne Airport Cancels Contract with JSX; Can it be Saved?

Customers of JSX airlines are familiar with the unique amenities the airline offers. With, “hop on” check-in services that allow

Jet SX

Customers of JSX airlines are familiar with the unique amenities the airline offers. With, “hop on” check-in services that allow customers to arrive as close as 20 minutes to flight departure, and 2- or 1-seat rows with no middle aisles, JSX is an appealing option for those looking to fly business class, often. Recently, however, JSX found themselves needing to plead for help from customers as John Wayne Airport (JWA) recently informed the CEO of JSX that they would no longer be welcome to fly out of JWA terminals as of January 1st, 2021. 

Why are they banned from JWA?

Unfortunately, CEO Alex Wilcox was not clear as to why JWA had chosen to terminate their business arrangement. Orange County has felt the crunch from the coronavirus pandemic as many airlines have opted to limit flights from California with capacity restrictions or fewer flights offered. JSX especially has paid attention to the needs and risks of it’s customers, and announced changes to it’s business practices that were popular with customers. However, it’s possible that JWA felt that the business being offered by JSX in this new limited capacity wasn’t enough to hold it’s space against larger companies which are continuing to operate at closer to normal capacities. 

Recently, JWA signed a lease with Spirit Airlines. Spectrum News1 shares, “Spirit’s arrival to JWA comes as the airport is experiencing a drop in passengers due to the travel restrictions and overall reduction in tourism caused by the global coronavirus pandemic. In July, JWA had 239,120 passengers, a 74 percent decline from last year’s 945,962 passengers, according to the airport’s latest data.

Jet SX

Thompson said JWA is currently at 25 or 30 percent of the average capacity for this time of year. ‘Passenger volume is steadily climbing, and we are optimistic that the trend will continue,’ she said.

For Spirit, this is the latest business move for a company rebounding from the economic uncertainty created by the coronavirus. Spirit CEO Ted Christie told USA Today in June that the company is experiencing an uptick in travel demand and plans to add more flights in the future.”

With Spirit growing and JSX continuing to respect social distancing, this may be the reason behind JWA’s decision to oust the smaller company. 

Wilcox pleads for help from customers

Jet SX

In an email sent on September 11th, Wilcox reached out to customers, “This morning I had a very upsetting phone call with an Orange County California official. He told me that as of January 1, 2021, JSX is no longer welcome at Orange County Airport. Since 2018, JSX has been providing the people of Orange County with our unique style of service while contributing millions in economic activity to the region. “

The email continues, “Businesses at the airport are being required by the county to sign a new lease that specifically prevents them from handling JSX flights as of January 1, 2021. And, JSX’s award-winning style of operation is not being allowed in the main airport terminal.

The airport leadership is trying to remove the highest rated air carrier in North America, which flies the quietest jets at the airport, from Orange County! They want to eliminate a safe and socially distanced flying option during a pandemic. Thousands of our customers have told us they will only fly JSX until there is a vaccine. This action will create untold economic damage by destroying the only air service many people use to get to and from Orange County. And this will result in the loss of the hundreds of jobs – many of them in Orange County – that make JSX flights there possible.”

JSX is willing to be accomodating

In the email, Wilcox offers solutions for a path forward, “JSX is happy to remain at our current location or to move to another suitable space at the Orange County Airport, including the main terminal, as long as we are able to continue providing our JSX customers with a safe, seamless, and secure ‘hop-on’ style of jet service, arriving just 20 minutes before a departing flight.”

Their pleas have fallen on deaf ears

The email concludes with a desperate plea for help from customers, “Our pleas to the airport are falling on deaf ears and they remain unwilling to accommodate JSX. In the last two weeks, the airport has welcomed Spirit Airlines, but told JSX to leave. Orange County deserves better leadership: people who care about creating jobs and safe flying options for customers like you.

We need your help to keep JSX flying in Orange County.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors are the decision makers who need to hear from you (our valuable customers) about your support to keep JSX at Orange County Airport.

Please join us in voicing your strong opposition to the airport’s decision to forcefully remove JSX.

Please send an email to

[email protected] with the Subject Line: “Please Keep JSX at John Wayne Airport” and tell them why you need us to keep flying for you – for work, travel, to keep jobs and economic growth in Orange County, and above all else, to offer the safest and simplest way to fly during this pandemic. Please copy [email protected] so we can make sure your voice is heard and counted.

I am grateful for your support of JSX and – with your help – we look forward to serving you at Orange County to current and new destinations for many years to come.


Alex Wilcox


What will happen to JSX?

Jet SX

That remains to be seen. As the CEO looks to customers to put pressure on JWA to continue their business arrangement, the airport has remained mum on the situation. If JWA is hurting for money due to fewer and lower capacity flights, they will continue seeking opportunities with larger airlines. JSX places customer safety and comfort above capacity, so they are unlikely to step up their capacity allowances or increase flights to appease JWA. However, some sort of deal will have to be struck if JSX wishes to continue operating out of Orange County. Will JSX or JWA blink first, or will they end up going separate ways? Right now it’s hard to say, but we’ll keep an eye on any developments. 


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