Note: ORD flights will not operate this summer, but are expected to resume next winter
There are plenty of great options and reasons to FLY SUN!
BETTER AIR ACCESS TO SUN REDUCES PASSENGER LEAKAGE TO BOI
According to the results of the annual Sun Valley Resort winter skier survey, compiled by RRC Associates, the increase in the number of visitors and part-time residents flying to SUN instead of Boise has tracked closely with the increase in the number of flights and seats to SUN from more cities since 2013/14. Over the past five years the percentage of Sun Valley visitors and part-time residents flying into Boise has decreased from 30% to 14%, and those flying into SUN has increased from 30% to 43%.
More flights = more convenience = more SUN travelers. And that is good for everyone!
DID YOU KNOW?
Private aircraft flights do NOT have takeoff or landing priority over commercial flights at SUN. Here is a very thorough explanation provided by SUN airport manager, Chris Pomeroy, in the recent FMA On the Fly enewsletter, on how the process works:
"Over the course of the year, especially during the peak demand times around major holidays and events, our air carriers may experience some lengthy arrival and departure delays. We do hear complaints in response to these delays, including a common question from affected and frustrated airline customers: "Why do private jets get landing and takeoff priority at the airport?"
Short answer is, they don't. Below is a somewhat long-winded and technical answer. Please bear with me.
The federal government, specifically the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), controls and oversees the National Airspace System and all air traffic control functions, including those at SUN. The FAA operates the national airspace and air traffic control services on a first come, first serve basis. As such, the way this system operates does not give commercial flights priority over private aircraft or vice versa. The FAA will sometimes prioritize arriving aircraft. A lot less things can go wrong for aircraft already on the ground vs. an aircraft still in the air. Such things as low fuel or, as was the case on this past President's Day weekend, aircraft were picking up ice while holding and the FAA had to get them in to land ASAP which resulted in some departure delays.
Bigger picture, the air traffic delays we experience at SUN are mostly a function of a lot of airplanes trying to get in or out of the airport at during peak demand days at the same time (typically from 11 am to 4 pm). Combined with our limited airspace capacity due to the mountainous terrain and predominant one-way-in, one-way-out operations, delays can occur. Fact is, as a resort community, we have a lot of general aviation (private aircraft) that use our airport. Per the FAA, they have just as much right to the airport and airspace as commercial aircraft. To provide a real-world example and perspective, on Monday February 19th, get away day for the President's Day weekend, air traffic control ran 138 total takeoffs and landings at SUN. Roughly 126 of these were private aircraft operations, compared to 12 commercial aircraft operations. Capacity and flow become much more complicated when we add bad weather, which only adds to the delays. I understand that when someone sees this ratio, it feels like private aircraft have priority. Again, they don't, there are just more of them. As air traffic controllers apply the first come, first serve system, they juggle all priorities including trying to help the airlines stay on schedule to make connections. It can be a complex process at times but they work hard to ensure it's fair.
Hearing this probably doesn't make you feel any better if you were affected by a delay. So what can we do about it? We will always have airspace constraints here at SUN based on our constrained space and operational needs. However, last year I hired an airspace consultant - a recently retired FAA air traffic controller/air traffic manager with 35 years of FAA ATC experience, including extensive experience at mountain airports - to help us with improvements at SUN. We see opportunities to help the system work better and move aircraft more efficiently. We are currently working with air traffic control facilities to facilitate improvements and this will continue to be a priority for us."
In order to facilitate a runway re-striping project, the Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN) will close from:
8:15am - 9:00pm on Tuesday June 5
8:15am until about 5:00pm on Wednesday June 6
The closure hours will accommodate the SLC early morning departure flights and late evening arrival flights on both days. The only flights affected by the closure will be the mid-day SLC flights.
The airport is also reconstructing the parking lot this spring. Get construction updates
REMINDER! AIRPORT CONCESSIONS TEMPORARILY CLOSED
The FMAA is in the processing of securing a new Food & Beverage concessionaire to operate in the passenger boarding area of the SUN airport terminal. Please be advised that there are only beverage and snack vending machines available currently, so plan accordingly.
FMAA MEETING NOTICE
The next meeting of the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority:
Tuesday, May 1, 5:30pm Old Blaine County Courthouse, Hailey
FMAA board meeting agendas and packets available HERE