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The new Terminal C at John Wayne (SNA) opened Nov. 14, on schedule and within budget.

The $543M Airport Improvement Program added to Terminal C six bridged aircraft gates, two commuter terminals, more security checkpoints, and new dining and shopping options, and 282,000 sq. ft. of new space to the existing 448,000 in Terminals A and B at the Thomas F. Riley Terminal.

“Terminal C brings passengers more convenience and customer service amenities; we are now one of the first U.S. airports to offer travelers a universal system to check in and print a boarding pass for any airline from any self-service kiosk throughout the Thomas F. Riley Terminal,” says Alan L. Murphy, airport director. “To top off this milestone day, we are thrilled to learn that Southwest Airlines (via AirTran) intends to launch service to Mexico City and Cabo San Lucas from Orange County next year, utilizing our first-ever international facilities.”

Frontier Airlines and Southwest, which will be moving into Terminal C, will continue to support departing passengers from their current locations in Terminal B. Although Terminal C and the adjoining Parking Structure C are open and operation, travelers flying Frontier and southwest who need to check luggage should use the carriers’ existing ticket counters in Terminal B; those not checking bags can check in, print boarding passes and go through security screening in Terminal C.

Other enhancements to the terminal include new flat-screen monitors featuring flight and baggage information for all airlines; five new passenger security screening lanes and customer service desks in each terminal. A new parking structure features more than 2,000 parking spaces and advanced parking technology; digital signage to help travelers know how many parking spots are available in real time and kiosks that allow travelers to pay for parking as they exit the airport before getting into their cars.

Several new restaurants and shops have already opened, and others will do so in the weeks ahead.

New Orange County-based or -themed restaurants include:
–    Zov’s
–    Anaheim Ducks Breakaway Bar & Grill
–    Javi’s
–    Hobie Sand Bar
–    Jerry’s Wood-Fired Dogs
–    Caterina’s
–    Ruby’s Diner and Ruby’s Grab N’ Go (opening in 2012)
–    Fresh Market by Laguna Culinary Arts (opening in 2012)

Other food and beverage options include:
–    La Tapenade Mediterranean Cafe
–    Ciao Gourmet Market
–    Vino Volo
–    California Pizza Kitchen
–    Subway
–    Carl’s Jr./Green Burrito
–    Pei Wei
–    Pinkberry
–    McDonald’s and McCafe (being remodeled in 2012)
–    Creative Croissants (operating at the airport since 1990)

Retail, news and gift options include:
–    CNBC News Orange County
–    Discover Orange County/Tech on the Go
–    Hudson News Newswall
–    Sunglass Hut/Rip Curl
–    CNN Newsstand Orange County
–    Beachfront News and InMotion Entertainment store
–    CNBC News Express
–    South Coast News
–    OC Travel Mart