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Changes For Friedman Memorial Airport


By Rachel Holt

Hailey, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) There are some big changes coming to Friedman Memorial Airport, including new flights and construction this month.

Rick Baird has been the airport manager for nearly two decades.

He says now is one of the most exciting times for Friedman Memorial that he can remember.

“Great things are happening. As you know, nationwide it's very hard for small communities to hold onto their air service, let alone improve it. We've had some major successes recently," Baird explains.

One of those successes includes the addition of new flight destinations, starting this December.

"This is the first new air carrier we've had in well over 20 years, and we've never had nonstop service to San Francisco, so this is a huge improvement," Baird says.

"We have an active group of people working on improving air service, bringing more flights, lower fares, we have a service ... getting more competition, new carriers," adds Larry Schoen, Blaine County Commissioner.

Already Idaho’s 2nd largest airport, the possibility of more destinations has passengers eager to buy tickets.

“We have to take a small commuter plane to Salt Lake and get the plane from Salt Lake to New York... it's a long travel day. If they expand the whole airport and you could come right in, that would be fantastic,” notes traveler Leo Rutman.

In addition, commissioners plan to approve a plan for runway realignment.

“The idea is to make our airport as safe and as reliable as it can possibly be and to bring it into compliance with federal standards,” Shoen explains.

“We're going to do some significant projects here to make sure air service flourishes... it means about 35 millions dollars worth of work and the majority of it will be completed in the next 18 months,” Baird adds.

Improvements to the airport, taking flight.

The runway realignment is expected to be completed by December of 2015.

This upcoming May, the airport will be shut down to allow for construction to take place.

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