June 12, 2009
By AOPA ePublishing staff
The National Park Service (NPS) is asking for public comment on whether to extend its lease to the Jackson Hole Airport—a decision that will determine if the airport will receive federal funding, and if it will stay open long term.
The airport sits on land leased from the NPS; the lease is up in April 2033. If the agency does not extend the airport’s use agreement, it will not be eligible for FAA funding after April 2013. Failure to extend the lease means that the airport would close in 2033.
A draft environmental impact statement proposes an alternative: Extend the use agreement for two 10-year terms, until 2053.
“The Jackson Hole Airport is the most important airport in Wyoming, accounting for more than 30 percent of all aviation-related jobs in the state, 40 percent of total annual expenditures of the state’s general aviation visitors, and almost 75 percent of scheduled passenger enplanements,” the statement reads. The closest airport with scheduled passenger service is 90 miles west of Jackson in Idaho Falls, Idaho, it notes. “In good weather, the drive to the Idaho Falls Regional Airport from Jackson requires more than 2 hours on primarily two-lane, mountain roads.”
The NPS is accepting comments through June 15, and AOPA will be submitting comments in support of extending the lease.
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