June 21 is the annual summer solstice and that means, thankfully, summer is finally here. That snowy February and wet spring certainly has me excited for warmer weather and all it brings to our beautiful Valley. I look forward to some great fly fishing, golf, and camping including a few backcountry trips to the high mountain lakes.
There’s also a lot of exciting things happening at Friedman Memorial Airport and I’d like to quickly highlight a few of them for you:
Early bird flights
If you haven’t heard, there are four additional early morning flights to put you closer to the people and places that matter most:
6:55 a.m. – Delta to Salt Lake City
7:10 a.m. – United to Los Angeles
8:10 a.m. – United to Denver
8:40 a.m. – United to San Francisco
And to help you get to those people and places, we’ve made a couple of noticeable changes at the TSA security checkpoint. First, TSA will have true TSA PreCheck™ access during dedicated times. Those times will be posted on the information boards near the airline ticket counters and the entrance to the checkpoint. Be sure to listen for announcements on the terminal PA system. Second, we have reconfigured the checkpoint line to make it move more efficiently during the passenger screening process.
Air travel is a team sport. You can help us make your summer travel experience less stressful by arriving early. We recommend you get here no later than 90 minutes before departure.
Outside the terminal, we expect the parking lot to be operating close to capacity, if not at capacity, this summer. We’re working closely with our parking lot management company, The Car Park, to monitor lot status. Check our website for updates, and follow us on social media, throughout the summer.
If the lot is full, you will need to find another option to park offsite. If you’re unable to have someone drop you off, Mountain Rides will be operating a more frequent schedule to their St. Luke’s clinic stop, which is a short walk up the new sidewalk to the terminal.
On the general aviation front, the annual summer “fly-in event” (wink, wink) is scheduled for July 9-14, right on the heels of the July 4th weekend. With an abundance of sun, good weather and engaging events, we expect things to be a little busy. With that in mind, we will remind all operators to help us be good neighbors and abide by our Voluntary Noise Abatement Program.
Lastly, many of you are aware of the tree removal project on the south end of the airport. There is no higher priority for us than the safety of our flying public, as well as airport users and the surrounding community.
For more than two years, the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority (FMAA) has worked closely with the community, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to evaluate the safety, operational, and environmental impact of the removal of obstructions as well as the acquisition of approximately 65 acres on the south side of the airport for the purpose of a Runway Protection Zone (RPZ). The trees were posing a growing risk to aircraft as they penetrated various critical airport airspace surfaces. On May 24, 2019, the FAA completed its environmental assessment and issued a finding of no significant impact regarding this effort. With that, removal began on June 3.
I have heard comments that this is a precursor to a runway extension. It is not. Throughout the process, FMAA and the environmental assessment effort have been clear that the tree removal and RPZ land acquisition are based on safety. Further, the project seems to have spooled a debate by some about the impacts of the airport on the community in its current location. I have no doubt there will be continued debate about this in the years to come. As it stands right now, however, the FAA, FMAA, and of course us as staff, have the continued responsibility to ensure the airport is operating as safely and efficiently as possible. The tree removal and RPZ acquisition help us all achieve this goal.
If you’d like to learn more about the FAA’s final environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact, you may view them at our office, or for your convenience, we’ve posted them online: https://iflysun.com/public-notice-ea-fonsi-final/
As a member of the Hailey community who, myself, lives abut 3/4 mile north of the airport, I am very aware of the impact—both positive and negative—the airport has on the community. The board, my staff and I stand ready to work together to find that balance between the needs of the community and the needs of the airport. As I have said before, my door is always open and the coffee is always hot.
Enjoy the summer!