In 1931 the Friedman Family grant-deeded land to the City of Hailey for a small grass-strip airfield south of the then-lightly-populated town. At that time, there were neither commercial flights nor, until some years later, a resort economy in Blaine County. Of course there were no jet aircraft.
The FMAA was formed in 1994. The Authority is comprised of seven members representing the two owners of the airport – the City of Hailey and Blaine County. The County appoints three members to the Board; the City appoints three members and they in turn, must unanimously approve the seventh independent member. All the representatives support and encourage commercial air service to the community and each member has consistently supported the development of a replacement airport once it became factually evident that FMA could no longer meet the present and future commercial air service needs of the community.
Since the 1930’s, FMA has seen continual growth and improvement. Additional land was purchased by the City of Hailey and Blaine County to meet the business challenges created by the development of the air service industry. In particular, the evolution of private and commercial aircraft, which have generally become larger and faster, necessitated changes to meet Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) design standards. Changes in the local economy, mostly attributable to a favorable resort environment and the growth of the travel and tourism industry, also drove the need for upgrades and expansion.
Friedman Memorial Airport does not comply with FAA design standards for many of the larges planes using the Airport. For a number of years, the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority was moving down a path towards a replacement airport. In August of 2011, the FAA suspended the Environmental Impact Study that was to help determine a location for the new airport citing cost and environmental concerns. The FAA instructed the FMAA to go to work with the community to determine a path forward. After nearly six months of public meetings, the FMAA announced a dual path forward: exploring fixes to Friedman in the short term, while continuing to pursue a replacement airport for the long term.
The short answer is: No. Owners of public airports, which accept federal grants for improvements, have limited control over who can use the Airport and an obligation to accommodate demand to the maximum extent possible. That extent is generally determined by the FAA.
The FMAA is acutely aware that reliability of service is a critical factor that impacts the quality of a visitor’s experience flying into and out of Sun Valley. In fact, the mountainous terrain surrounding the current location is a big reason they continue to pursue a replacement airport as the ultimate solution. That said, with advancements in next-gen technology, there might be ways to improve reliability at the existing site. These potential improvements will be explored in future airport layout planning studies.
Each company does its own hiring. If you want to work for an airline, each airline hires its staff. The car rental companies, gift shop, and parking also do their own hiring. If you are interested in a job with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), you can find more information at http://www.tsa.gov. If you are interested in working in Airport administration or operations, please visit the Employment Opportunities page.