Mountain Express: FAA Gives Go-Ahead for Hailey Airport Expansion

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Federal authorities have given the all-clear for airport planners in the Wood River Valley to pursue a so-called "dual path" for Friedman Memorial Airport, which would relocate and extend the airport's taxiways and relocate the airport's hangars.

The airport had been put on notice from the Federal Aviation Administration that it must bring its runway safety into compliance with new standards by the end of 2015.

This morning's Idaho Mountain Express reports that the FAA has given preliminary approval for the plans, which would first alter the existing airport footprint and then look at expanding the airport to replace parking and snow storage that would be lost in the runway extension.

When the improvements are complete, Friedman Memorial is expected to allow more aircraft to take off and land at the facility, but larger jets such as the Boeing 737 still could not operate at Friedman.

The Mountain-Express also reports that engineers are eyeing a full replacement for the airport in the long term.

"We need to move forward, " said Airport Authority member Tom Bowman. "We should insist on relentless forward movement."