Orange County Airport Placed On Lockdown On Friday Night

On Friday night, a man breached security at Orange County’s John Wayne Airport and ended up on the apron. The actions of the suspect led local authorities to lock down the hub while the man was arrested.

Orange County Airport
Orange County Airport closed down on Friday, August 20, due to a man breaching security. Photo: Getty Images

What happened?

The incident started around 5:30 p.m., according to local reports citing the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. A man in a white jumpsuit breached security. He was later spotted by an airport employee in a secure area only accessible to local workers.

But that wasn’t it. As the Los Angeles Times reports, the man then stole an airport vehicle and drove it onto the airfield outside Terminal C. He stopped near a gate and tried to get in a secure area, reported the Sheriff’s Department.

When the airport employee lost sight of the man, he notified the emergency personnel. Then the airport authorities activated their emergency response system. The whole Terminal C was placed on lockdown; it was evacuated by 6:00 pm.

After that, the authorities started looking for the man throughout the airport. He was later located in the ceiling on the non-secure side of the terminal; the police took him into custody without further incident; he was taken into Orange County Jail, said the Sheriff’s Department.

The man’s breaching caused several flight delays and cancelations. Photo: Getty Images.

How did the breach impact the airport operations?

Following the incident, the airport authorities reopened Terminal C. The passengers had to go through the security checkpoints again, and officials said there could be flight delays and cancellations.

According to data obtained from and, 20 flights departed with delay, and eight were canceled on Friday night following the incident. Additionally, the airport registered ten arriving flights with a delay, eight cancellations, and four diverted operations.

On Friday, there were 260 commercial airline operations departing and landing in Orange County Airport, according to data obtained with Cirium.

We contacted John Wayne Airport’s authorities asking for a statement on the incident. So far, we have received no response.

Southwest Boeing 737-700
Southwest is the main operator at Orange County Airport. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Which airlines operate at Orange County Airport?

Last Friday, nine airlines operated scheduled passenger flights in Orange County Airport, per Cirium. Almost every flight was domestic, except one from Southwest between this airport and San José del Cabo, Mexico.

The airlines that operate out of this airport are American Airlines, Alaska Airlines (via Alaska, Skywest, and Horizon Air), Delta Air Lines (via Delta and Skywest), Frontier Airlines, Allegiant Air, Spirit Airlines, Sun Country, United Airlines (via Skywest and United), and Southwest.

According to the airport’s authorities, in June, the hub had 730,144 passengers. That number is a 20.5% decrease compared to the pre-pandemic levels of 918,913 travelers.

The top three airlines in June 2021, based on passenger count, were Southwest Airlines (311,304), American Airlines (138,074), and Alaska Airlines (96,695).

So far, the airport has had 2.6 million domestic passengers and 9,028 tons of cargo. It also has had 12,078 international travelers.

Among the latest news regarding this hub is that United Airlines recently inaugurated its direct route to Honolulu, Hawaii.

What do you think of Orange County Airport’s security breach? Let us know in the comments below.