Orange County Supervisors Vote to Fight Small Jet Lawsuit

December 16, 2020 Updated: December 16, 2020

SANTA ANA, Calif. (CNS)—The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted Dec. 15 to oppose a federal lawsuit filed by small jet service company that has been excluded from continuing business on the corporate jet portion of John Wayne Airport (JWA).

County officials had offered to move JetSuiteX from the private terminals to the commercial terminals at the airport in Santa Ana, but that would require its customers go through security, and the company offers its clients an opportunity to avoid the more restrictive security screening done in the larger terminals.

JetSuiteX alleges that they were later told they could not operate at the airport at all in 2021.

JetSuiteX advertises itself as a “hop-on jet service” that provides “hassle-free, affordable, and crowd-free air transportation.”

In the federal lawsuit, filed on Dec. 14, the company argues it offers a Transportation Security Administration-approved and “compliant security process that is superior and exceeds security that occurs in the main terminal. JSX’s check-in procedure presents customers with less hassle and requires customers to dedicate less time than is required at the main airport terminal and reduces their exposure to crowds, which protects them from life-threatening diseases such as COVID.”

The board voted 3-2, with Chairwoman Michelle Steel and Supervisor Don Wagner dissenting, to fight JetSuiteX’s lawsuit and application for a temporary restraining order to prevent their exclusion from continuing to operate at the airport.

“JSX is the highest-rated air service in the country,” CEO Alex Wilcox said. “Our business model represents the apogee in the evolution of air travel that Congress intended by enacting a detailed federal statutory and regulatory system governing aviation to assure access to the airport and competition.

“Under that federal system, JWA’s recent termination of JSX existing service at JWA will cause JSX, its customers, and the general public irreparable harm and is illegal, patently unconstitutional, and anti-competitive. In particular, the precipitous action taken by JWA before the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday operates to unlawfully deny JSX and its customers access to routes and to JSX’s unique model of service, often to otherwise unserved routes.”