After five years in the works, officials at John Wayne Airport on Monday opened a new multimillion-dollar terminal. But there was one problem: The baggage-handling system wasn't working.
Passengers who arrived at Terminal C were greeted with signs saying they had to check in their luggage next door at Terminal B. Airport staff were also waiting for passengers in the new parking structure, where they informed people of the breakdown. Travelers with carry-on baggage were not affected.
"It seemed to run smoothly," airport spokeswoman Jenny Wedge said.
Terminal C is the centerpiece of a $543-million airport expansion and renovation project that was approved by the Orange County Board of Supervisors in 2005. Construction began in 2006.
On Friday, airport officials were told by the Transportation Security Administration that the baggage-handling system — a series of conveyor belts that moves luggage from the terminal to various planes — had flunked its certification test the day before, Wedge said. As part of the process, the system is required to undergo tests before it can be deemed ready for the public.