Hailey airport considers relocating air traffic control tower

HAILEY, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) Board members from the Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey are planning to relocate a 35-year-old air traffic control tower.

Airport Manager Chris Pomeroy said the Federal Aviation Administration set a deadline by 2023 to relocate the tower facility.

“With the advancement of technology the FAA is looking at digital and high technology solutions to tower operations or tower facilities,” Pomeroy said.

Pomeroy said because of technology enhancing services, they wanted to look at all options before making a decision.

“In the past, one of the only options that airports had to replace or construct a new tower was with the traditional sticks and bricks construction," he said.

In addition, Pomeroy said it takes a lot of planning for it to come into fruition, he said FAA will look into the potential cost benefits or savings, whether to choose from a traditional tower or digital remote tower.

“That’s what we’re studying right now, is increase awareness via technology, high resolution cameras that you can augment with capability such as infrared, aircraft tracking, reduction in the size of the facility you need,” Pomeroy said.

The relocation will be within the airport perimeters, Pomeroy said there’s one test facility that currently operational in Leesburg, Virigina, and working with a consultant team to analyse what their cost estimates will be.

“This next study, that we’re working on showed a cost estimated anywhere between $5-$7.5 million for a conventional tower,” he said. “We’re trying to refine to see if the digital remote tower solution provides a cost brake.”

The remote digital tower could cost less than a conventional tower, but the cost can increase depending on the services that are put into it.

“You can do a lot of different enhancements a lot of different augmentation efforts that can make the cost rise, but yes, the generally consensus should provide some sort of cost brake versus a traditional tower facility,” he said.

While they haven’t made a decision, Pomeroy will meet with their consultant team In May to continue to discuss the options.

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