Orange County's John Wayne Airport opens new terminal after $550 million expansion

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John Wayne Airport in Orange County Monday unveils a new terminal and other improvements after a more than half-billion dollar expansion and renovation project.

John Wayne Airport has a new Terminal C with six new gates and a new parking building with 2,000 spaces. Airport officials say the project is complete, on time and on budget.

The expansion and renovation project took off under bright economic skies, first approved seven years ago. It lands amid post-recession turbulence.

Air travel is down. But airport and regional transit officials are banking on a long-term outlook, at least 20 years out, that suggests more demand is on the radar. Bonds and fees on travelers covered most of the improvement costs.

The airport is also set now to handle a few flights to and from Mexico and Central America. The question is whether any airline will get on board to add those flights.

Last week Orange County added new incentives, including a $300,000 rent credit, that might attract airlines to offer the flights.