Meetings with FAA still uncertain
by KATHERINE WUTZ
A SkyWest Airlines flight pulls into the terminal at Friedman Memorial Airport.
The Friedman Memorial Airport Authority made progress on
communications, decision-making and meetings with the FAA on Tuesday,
despite light attendance at its monthly meeting.
The way forward
Prior to the meeting, Blaine County commissioners and the Hailey City
Council formed documents known as "guiding principles" that were meant
to shape the decision-making process for either building a new airport
or making improvements to the existing one.
Though many of the principles of the documents are similar—such as the
importance of commercial air service to the valley and airport
relocation as a long-term goal—the principles adopted by the city of
Hailey place more emphasis on relocation rather than improvements.
"Until the [Airport Layout Plan, which would allow for improvements to
Friedman] is developed and presented for consideration ... the City
supports the present configuration and operation of Friedman Memorial
Airport," the document reads.
County Commissioner and authority board member Angenie McCleary said
the differences were not insurmountable, and board member Susan McBryant
said putting the goals in writing would help the process enormously.
"To have both owners commit this to writing has been really
constructive," McBryant said. "They are highly consistent, but there are
points where they go in different directions. We know in advance what
hurdles we might face."
The authority board voted to approve both documents, rather than merge
them to form a set of consistent principles for the board itself.
Hailey City Councilman Don Keirn said that trying to sort out the
differences between the two sets of goals may take more time and effort
than the process would be worth.
"We spent enough time on these, and that could take another six
months," he said with a laugh. "And we'd still end up with differences."
The goals are available on the airport website, www.flyfma.com.
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