Mountain Express: Optimism Takes Off For Safety Changes to Hailey Airport

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After spending years debating the fate of Hailey's Friedman Memorial Airport, there is renewed optimism in the Wood River Valley that the current airport will be allowed to continue its operations at its existing site, until a new airport can be built.

A November 2012 analysis estimated that modifying the current airport could cost a princely sum, with price tags ranging anywhere from $38.4 million to as much as $149.4 million. And a report in July 2012 estimated that a new airport could cost as much as $370 million.

The airport had been put on notice from the U.S. government that it must bring its runway safety into new compliance standards by the end of 2015. However, Friedman Memorial Airport is located within too confined a space to fully meet the standards.

But this week's Idaho Mountain Express reports that a temporary fix, proposed by airport planners and presented to the Federal Aviation Administration, would relocate some of the airport's taxiways and hangars.

"Most of the controversy about what should be done with the airport has been vetted and resolved," airport manager Rick Baird told the Mountain Express. "In the past, the FAA said they would not entertain any modifications to the standards. This is an exciting time for the community."

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