Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Scott move is symptom of air-service problems

Scott was founded by a Sun Valley skier and is one of Sun Valley’s oldest and largest employers. Its products have an international reputation. But it has recently announced the relocation of a significant portion of its business to Salt Lake City. The all too familiar reason is the lack of reliable air transportation and the low capacity of the aircraft that fly here.

This is another clear message that we must modernize our airport to permit instrument landings by commercial aircraft and to accommodate larger airplanes such as the Boeing 757. The issue is no longer economic growth; rather, it is economic survival. The impact of an airport that is closed 40 percent of the time during the ski season and, when open, can only handle very small planes is not just on tourism but also on all other businesses here, and ultimately will affect everyone’s pocketbook.

There are some in the valley, including the mayor of Hailey, who assert that modernizing the airport would create hazards to surrounding homes and result in unacceptable noise levels. I would point out that Midway Airport in Chicago and La Guardia and Kennedy Airports in New York are in the middle of large urban areas, with homes close to or on the border of the airport. Yet all three have good safety records and successful noise abatement programs.

We missed an opportunity to address our air transportation problem with the defeat of the LOT referendum in November. We must create another opportunity and take the necessary action before it is too late.

Mitchell Hollins

Sun Valley


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