Mexico's Interjet airline arrives at John Wayne Airport in Orange County

John Wayne Airport and Terminal from 900 feet above ground, taken in 2011.
John Wayne Airport and Terminal from 900 feet above ground, taken in 2011.
Pilot & Photographer D. Ramey Logan

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The Mexican carrier Interjet just launched daily non-stop service from John Wayne Airport to Mexico City and Guadalajara. It’s the airline’s first West Coast destination in the United States.

Interjet CEO Jose Luis Garza said he chose John Wayne because it works well on both ends; Orange County has a large and growing Hispanic population that wants flights to Mexico - and those in Mexico find John Wayne a convenient starting point for Disneyland and many area attractions.

“It’s the closest destination to theme parks, entertainment, shopping, San Diego, and obviously L.A.,” said Garza. “As we say in Mexico, with a single flight we arrive into five different destinations.”

One thing Interjet can’t say in its advertising: Disneyland.

Garza says he’s working with Disney to change that.

Interjet’s entire advertising buy for these new routes has been on Spanish language media. It’s the prudent thing to do, Garza said.

“The typical passenger is the Mexican who comes up in the Mexican carrier,” Garza said. ”And the residents of Latin origin going down to Mexico prefer a Mexican or Latin carrier.”

Last fall, John Wayne added customs facilities and for the first time this year is able to provide international service.

There are flights to Canada – and earlier this year Airtran also added Orange County-to-Mexico flights.