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Air Traffic Control Tower Closure To Have Major Impacts At Friedman Memorial

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By Brandon Redmond

Hailey, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) The Friedman Memorial Airport is set to lose their air traffic control tower on May fifth. Airport officials and residents are not happy about the decision and safety is a big concern.

"Many of the airports in this country do operate without towers. However I do think it is unusual for an air field that has the type of traffic that we do in this mountainous environment to operate without a tower," said Airport Manager Rick Baird.

The tower closure could complicate issues at an already busy airport.

"From a perspective of capacity. There's going to be days where it is going to be very difficult for us to get all of the aircraft that want to get here in and out of the air field," said Airport Manager Rick Baird.

Friedman Memorial isn't the only airport scheduled to lose their air traffic control tower.

"Idaho will lose over a period of time, five control towers, all of the towers, that will leave the only towered airfield in the state will be Boise. So I think it is going to have an impact on access to the entire state," said Airport Manager Rick Baird.

Residents of Sun Valley and Hailey are also worried it could impact the local economy.

"As a former business owner here in the Valley, I understand that we need the people to be coming into Blaine County. Without the airport, we aren't bringing in the tourists. And without the tourists, are local businesses aren't surviving," said Stefanie O’Neill.

Airport officials plan to fight the decision.

"The goal is to stay the FAA order, to delay the FAA order with the outcome hopefully that if they insist on closing towers that they evaluate those closures based on safety and not national interest," said Baird.

A decision that will impact the safety of the airport and a tourist’s driven economy of Sun Valley.



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