A dip in flights to Mexico sent passenger traffic down 4.6 percent at John Wayne Airport in May.
The airport served 878,901 passengers compared with 921,233 in May 2016.
Airport spokeswoman Deanne Thompson attributed the decrease to reduced flights to Mexico. International passenger traffic was down 48.5 percent in May.
The steep plunge comes as the airport experienced a major shakeup this past year.
Nearly 1 million Southwest seats were reassigned to Delta, United and Alaska, which requested additional capacity for 2017. The seats were previously unclaimed by the airlines and used by Southwest.
Southwest eliminated direct flights to Mexico City, Austin, Kansas City, Portland, St. Louis, Seattle and Puerto Vallarta.
The airport could add more international flights soon. Rep. Luis Correa, D-Santa Ana, told the Register earlier this month that he would propose an amendment to a budget bill for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to designate JWA a “port of entry” airport.
The federal government pays for customs and border patrols services at port of entry locations. This would decrease airline costs and possibly fairs.
With its additional capacity, Alaska Airlines will offer a daily, nonstop flight starting Aug. 18 from JWA to Albuquerque, N.M. The airline also will add flights in June from JWA to San Francisco International Airport. The flights will be offered three times a day, joining flights already available through Southwest and United.
Delta is adding flights to Detroit and Las Vegas. The Detroit flight, the only one for the airport, will begin Sept. 5. There will be one daily flight. The Las Vegas flights began April 17. Southwest also offers direct flights to Las Vegas.
Overall, Alaska and its affiliate Horizon are picking up 257,596 additional seats; Delta 387,630 and United 296,346 seats.
Commercial aircraft operations in May at JWA decreased 3.7 percent, but total aircraft operations increased 12.4 percent.
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