Happy Presidents’ Day! We hope each of you had the opportunity to enjoy the many amenities found here in our beautiful Sun Valley. As you may already know, our airport operates in a very unique, but complicated airspace. Situated in the center of the valley, our airport has a single runway, and that means aircraft primarily have only one way in and one way out. Think of it as a single-lane street in your neighborhood. There are times when traffic moves along nicely, but when the number of cars increases or there’s weather and holiday traffic, things can get jammed up.
Same with the airport.
Yes. We’re aware of the fact some flights encountered departure delays over the long weekend. We understand your frustration, but it’s important to remember these delays are driven by FAA Air Traffic Control and, sometimes the airlines and their in-house operating procedures, and not by the Friedman Memorial Airport. Yes, it’s easy to pick up the phone and call us. While we’re always happy to hear from you and to listen, we hope you’ll take a moment and lend us your time.
Let’s go back to that single-lane street.
Now imagine a steady line of cars streaming into the neighborhood, and cars in driveways trying to exit the neighborhood at the same time.
Looks like we’d need a traffic cop, right?
Well we do have a traffic cop, and that’s the air traffic controllers.
Their job is to safely and efficiently move that traffic along so everyone can get to where they need to go, regardless of what they are driving.
So, back to that stream of cars. We’ve all been there, right?
As cars move into the neighborhood, some cars are able to leave the driveway. But there are also cars, just outside of your neighborhood, waiting to turn on to that popular single-lane street. The situation can be similar in the airspace above and surrounding the airport.
Additionally, arriving and departing traffic are sequenced on a first-come, first-served basis by FAA Air Traffic Control allowing no discrimination between aircraft, whether commercial airline or general aviation (private aircraft). While there are some exceptions, such as an in-flight emergency or a critical medevac operation that would receive priority, no category of aircraft receives preferential treatment. During peak traffic times, fact is, at our airport there are many more private aircraft in the airspace versus commercial aircraft, so while it might seem like these private aircraft are getting priority from Air Traffic Control, they are not.
Bottom line, were there some delays? Yes.
Are we working to improve the situation? Yes.
Friedman Memorial Airport is proactively working to better understand all of the issues relating to commercial airline delays and diversions to better serve you, our public.
What we ask from you, now, is to keep these lines of communication open while we explore ways to better improve the Sun Valley visitor flying experience. We know it’s frustrating for you. Please know it’s frustrating for us, too. And we want to make things better. Your input and your patience are appreciated.
We’re blessed to live in such a beautiful and desirable area, and at certain times of the year, lots of visitors want to enjoy it too. We are always evaluating opportunities to improve the customer experience. Until then, simple things like checking your flight status, getting to the airport early, and planning for delays–particularly during holiday travel times–can go a long way in helping ease travel frustrations. Thank you for your support, for your understanding, and for your business.