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"Wyoming airport says short runway causing problems"

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Airport says short runway causing problems
By Cory Hatch
The Jackson Hole (WY) News

A short runway is hampering efficiency and costing passengers money because
flights must leave Jackson Hole Airport with empty seats, officials say.

Airport manager Ray Bishop said weight restrictions on departing flights
mean most commercial carriers can fill only a portion of a plane's seats. 

"We think that we're running at about 75 percent efficiency," he said.

Bishop estimates a longer runway might make the airport 15 percent more
efficient, resulting in fewer flights and less noise in Grand Teton National

The discussion came after the Jackson Hole Airport Board talked Wednesday
about empty seats and possible restrictions on items such as skis on SkyWest

Several times in the past few decades, airport officials have considered
extending the runway, only to meet fierce opposition from environmental
groups who say the expansion is inappropriate for the nation's only airport
inside a national park. 

Bishop said he is not trying to resurrect plans to extend the runway. 

"I'm just trying to understand the problem," he said. "They've had three or
four attempts to extend the runway. It seems to me that ... this makes a lot
of sense."

Full flights departing the airport don't have enough room on the runway to
slow down once they reach "refusal speed," the point where a pilot, after
theoretically losing an engine, can make a decision to either slow down and
abort the flight or still achieve takeoff, Bishop said.

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