Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Voting for new airport


On May 3 a dozen Horizon Air passengers flying from Seattle to Sun Valley were diverted to Idaho Falls due to low cloud cover over Freidman Memorial Airport. Valley residents and visitors have learned to fly to and from either Boise or Twin Falls in the winter. But diversions in May! No wonder air service and passenger demand continue to decline. We cannot expect Horizon or SkyWest to provide regular air service at competitive rates if they are continually diverted for safety reasons. With mountains on three sides, Friedman Airport will always present safety problems that an airport without mountains does not have, even in thick fog or low cloud cover.

Air service to our remote resort area is our economic lifeline. Without regular air service there are not enough visitors and customers to support our hotels, retailers, restaurants and real estate sales. Visitors and potential new residents can choose among several competitive mountain resorts that have regular direct air service to major cities in the East, the Midwest and on the West Coast. Most visitors and even second homeowners are not willing to risk losing precious vacation time to travel delays. To schedule a conference or seminar in Sun Valley with the possibility of losing attendees to travel hassles is financially risky, even in May.

This passenger traveling on that May 3 diverted Seattle-to-Sun Valley flight and who paid and extra premium for a rental car for the 145-mile drive from Idaho Falls would vote for driving 17 miles farther down the road from Friedman Airport to the Proposed Site 10A to save time and money and to help save the economy of the Wood River Valley.

John Bailey

Ketchum




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