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SUN winter services

SUN AIRPORT PASSENGER ADVISORY

AS SUN ENTERS A NEW ERA OF WINTER FLIGHT RELIABILITY – THE WINTER BUSING PROGRAM CHANGES FOR AIRLINES AT SUN

Given the success of the recently implemented next generation LPV instrument approach into Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN) utilized by SkyWest Airlines, and the proprietary RNP approach system utilized by Alaska Airlines, the winter diversion busing program will no longer be used for the Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Alaska Airlines flights at SUN. 

The new LPV instrument approach system, developed and implemented by the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority, in partnership with SkyWest, Delta and United, has improved flight reliability and reduced weather-related operational challenges at SUN. The system came online in December 2020 on SkyWest’s E175 aircraft and has dramatically improved flight reliability the past two winter seasons that it has been in use. 

Horizon Air, which recently began operating E175 regional jets for Alaska Airlines at SUN, has been utilizing similar proprietary approach system technology since December 2016 which has also significantly improved flight reliability for the airline.

SUN Airport Director Chris Pomeroy noted that the unique diversion busing program at SUN was put in place by the airlines over 25 years ago in an effort to mitigate the challenges presented to passengers due to the high occurrence of weather-related flight interruptions at the airport. “For decades airline completion rates at the airport have suffered from less than desired reliability. The Airport Board, along with SkyWest and its major airline partners, invested in the new LPV technology to make air service to SUN more reliable. Simply put, minimizing the need for diversion busing was a goal all along with the implementation of the new approach and the airlines have now decided to discontinue the diversion busing program based on their improved reliability results.” 

In the past two years, the new LPV approach at SUN has “saved” over 180 United and Delta flights from having to divert, with only a few diverting due to extreme weather conditions. And Alaska Airlines has had very few winter flights disrupted by weather over the years since it has been using its proprietary RNP approach at SUN .

Airline officials noted that in the event that an unexpected flight disruption occurs, passengers will be assisted by the airlines via their service recovery protocol for flights affected by weather. If a carrier cannot complete a flight to SUN due to bad weather, the carrier will delay the departure of the flight or, if an aircraft is already in flight, divert to a nearby airport and wait until conditions improve, or the flight may be cancelled. In certain cases, carriers will add extra flights to reaccommodate passengers when conditions improve. 

Each weather event service recovery option, such as those already mentioned, will be decided on a case-by-case basis depending on multiple logistical factors including safety of airline passengers and flight crews. Every effort will be made by the airlines to assist passengers in the best way possible should an unexpected flight disruption occur.

Alaska

ALASKA AIRLINES WINTER OPERATIONS
HOTLINE – 208.788.1281 Prompt #4
Call 6 hours Prior

During bad weather, please call the Alaska Airlines Winter Operations Hotline 6 hours prior to your scheduled departure time. If the flight is cancelled, Alaska Airlines will either re-accommodate customers on the next available flight or weather permitting, provide bus service to Boise.

If bus service is provided:

  • Check in at the Alaska Airlines counter at the Sun Valley airport at least 5 hours prior to the originally scheduled flight.
  • Please allow plenty of time to get to the airport, the bus will leave as scheduled.
  • Passenger baggage will also travel via bus to Boise.

IMPORTANT: Please do not make alternative arrangements without checking with Alaska Airlines first.

Delta

DELTA AIR LINES WINTER OPERATIONS
HOTLINE – 208.788.4887
Call 4 hours Prior

During bad weather, please call the Delta Airlines Winter Operations Hotline 4 hours prior to your scheduled departure time

If flight is cancelled and bus service is provided:

  • Passengers must check in at Sun Valley Airport at least 3 hours prior to their original flight time.
  • Passengers will be bussed to Twin Falls (75 miles south) and luggage will be checked through to their final destination.
  • Upon arriving at the Twin Falls airport, checked baggage will automatically be boarded.
  • There is no need to check in at the counter at Twin Falls.

United

UNITED AIRLINES WINTER OPERATIONS
HOTLINE – 208.788.4887
Call 4 hours Prior

During bad weather, please call the United Airlines Winter Operations Hotline 4 hours prior to your scheduled departure time.

If flight is cancelled and bus service is provided:

  • Passengers must check in at Sun Valley Airport at least 3 hours prior to their original flight time.
  • Passengers will be bussed to Twin Falls (75 miles south) and luggage will be checked through to their final destination.
  • Upon arriving at the Twin Falls airport, checked baggage will automatically be boarded. There is no need to check in at the counter at Twin Falls.
  • IMPORTANT: If a passenger opts not to take the bus, and arranges their own transport to Twin Falls Airport, they MUST either check-in for the flight online at www.united.com or at the United ticket counter at SUN. They WILL NOT be able to check-in at Twin Falls Airport because there is no United station there.

Friedman Memorial Airport winter operations

Winter operations at a mountainous, resort airport such as SUN, are always challenging. The Friedman Memorial Airport Management and Operations Staff are acutely aware of the need to provide a safe operating environment in as timely a manner as is possible. We are well-trained, equipped and staffed to provide that safe operating environment and meet any challenge presented by winter weather conditions.

FMA Operations Staff monitors existing and anticipated weather conditions constantly on accurate, state-of-the art weather monitoring and forecasting equipment.  When overnight winter activity is anticipated, observations are made approximately every two hours. When snowfall accumulates to between 1″ and 2″, snow removal operations are initiated. Snow removal teams remain in service on the airfield until such time as the winter event has passed and all airfield surfaces have been appropriately mitigated and rendered safe for normal operations.

All airfield condition reports are maintained accurately and timely via NOTAM, ATIS and constant communication with airfield tenant businesses, such as the FBO and Air Carriers.