February 2, 2005
The general aviation pilots of Idaho's Wood River Valley are well served by Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN), AOPA has told airport officials. As far as GA is concerned, there is no need to build a new airport farther away from the town of Hailey and the Sun Valley resort complex.
"The overwhelming consensus of the core users of Friedman is that the current airport meets their aviation needs in terms of safety, capacity, and convenience," wrote AOPA's Vice President of Regional Affairs Roger Cohen. "Furthermore, they recognize that relocation to any new site will cause significant disruption and could raise any number of potential obstacles to providing pilots access to efficient and cost-effective general aviation services."
Airport commissioners are looking at possible new sites for the airport because it currently does not meet FAA safety standards for the airline equipment flying into it. There is also not enough ramp space to park the influx of business jets during special events.
"Light general aviation comprises the vast majority of the activity - and remains the primary focus - of Friedman Memorial Airport," said Cohen. "According to the most recent FAA data, nearly 80 percent of the airport's operations are classified as 'local' or 'itinerant' general aviation, while scheduled air carriers account for less than 3 percent of the flights.
"Simply put, we believe the existing airport works well for its primary users, and there does not appear to be an immediate need to replace it anytime soon," Cohen said.
AOPA urged airport commissioners to continue to make all necessary investments to keep Friedman Memorial Airport operating safely and efficiently and to continue studying the future aviation needs of the community.
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