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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of  September 19 - 25, 2001


Hailey airport 
reopens for business

Security is increased; 
parking virtually unavailable

Express Staff Writer

Hailey’s Friedman Memorial Airport reopened Thursday at 9:55 p.m. following a FAA-ordered shutdown Sept. 11 in the wake of coordinated hijackings and terrorists attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.

Hailey police and a trained dog inspected about 90 cars for explosives at the Hailey airport last Wednesday. Express photo by Travis Purser

Horizon Air and SkyWest were scheduling a limited number of commercial flights on Friday. Charter and air taxi service was also allowed. But Tuesday, general aviation relying on visual navigation, was still grounded.

Heightened security the FAA suddenly required last week threw airports across the country for a loop. To protect against car bombs, onsite parking at the Friedman terminal has been all but prohibited. And with stricter security inside the terminal, Horizon Air recommends passengers arrive two hours early. SkyWest recommends an hour.

Passengers may be dropped off at the terminal entrance, but any vehicle left unattended within 300 feet of the terminal curbside will be towed, said, Pete Kramer, airport chief of operations

Travelers should expect to be subject to greater scrutiny than in the past.

"Perhaps your bag will be inspected. You may be asked more questions," said Horizon representative Cheryl Temple. "Things will move more slowly than usual."

The FAA also announced Friday that airports at Boise, Idaho Falls and Salt Lake City were cleared for resumption of commercial flights.

Passengers arrived from Salt Lake City Friday at 12:40 p.m. The FAA lifted some flight restrictions Thursday at 9:55 p.m. Express photo by Travis Purser

Some of the first passengers to fly into Hailey after the three-day shutdown exited a SkyWest plane at about 12:40 p.m. Friday. They said they didn’t mind negotiating tougher security and were grateful to arrive.

Lovi Herman missed her father-in-law’s 60th birthday on Wednesday because she was stuck in California. She said she had to relinquish a small nail file before boarding a plane in Orange County.

Another man was angry because he followed an airline’s recommendations to arrive two hours early at an airport, but the ticket counter didn’t open until half an hour before his flight, creating a logjam of passengers, he said.

Melanie Wynne, traveling with her husband and two small children back to Dallas from Sun Valley Friday, was quickly reorganizing the contents of her luggage at the check-in counter in anticipation of a long layover in Salt Lake City, where the family still did not have a connecting flight booked.

"I’m really nervous. I’m nervous about hanging out at airports for three hours," she said.

One of the major tasks Friedman management had to accomplish before flights resumed was securing the parking lot.

Hailey police officers used a bomb-sniffing dog Wednesday afternoon to inspect about 90 parked cars at Friedman.

Guards were posted at the parking lot entrance, and Kramer said, once travelers returned and drove their cars out, any vehicle returning to park there would be searched for explosives. He expected only airport employees’ cars and rental cars to be allowed in the lot in the future.

With short-term parking no longer available, Kramer recommended that travelers plan to be dropped off at the terminal.

A small long-term lot that holds about 25 cars is still open, but with few spaces generally available there, travelers should call ahead to check for availability (Ampco: 788-6544).

Airport Manager Rick Baird, who was on vacation and unreachable where he was hunting near the headwaters of the Little Wood River during the airport shutdown, returned for work on Friday.

On Monday, he was immediately concerned with finding a solution to the new parking shortage. He expected the FAA to allow the airport to install a six-foot-high cement barricade 100 feet from the terminal curb and to then allow most of the parking lot to be reopened. The $6,000 to $10,000 project could be completed Friday, he said.

For the long-term, he said, he will focus on preparing the airport to more easily cope with sudden FAA-imposed changes in security.

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.