BLACKFOOT, Idaho - The city of Blackfoot is discussing the future of its airport. There are talks of improving the current location and talks of possibly building a new one.
The Federal Aviation Administration has B-2 and B-1 requirements. Right now, Blackfoot has a B-1 airport, but the FAA said if 500 B-2 aircraft are flying out of the city they must upgrade the airport. The FAA said a B-2 aircraft weighs about 12,500 pounds.
Mayor Paul Loomis said the airport's engineer will set up a video that will record the tail numbers of aircraft. If the engineer counts more than 500, the city will go into planning mode. If that happens Loomis said there is no room to expand the current airport so a new one would have to be built in the county.
"We would go into a planning phase to decide if we're going to do a B-2 airport. We would decide where it would go and how would it be designed. I'm sure a regional airport would be discussed at that point," Loomis said.
One soon-to-be pilot is worried about the noise jets will bring to the city if a large commercial airport is built.
"We have a beautiful location. We have the lake and the golf course. We have the airports in Pocatello and Idaho Falls, those are for the commercial jetliners and we don't need it here," said Jonas Marcinko.
"A lot of pilots indicated keeping the airport a small private airport where people could fly and have fun," said Randy Aareing, airport monitor.
Wareing said no matter what happens he looks forward to future improvements for the current airport like new runway lights and a new beacon tower. Some items like falling hangers are not getting fixed.
"I think it would be beautiful for the greenbelt for whoever is walking on it to walk along grass and trees and not dirt. They wouldn't have to look at falling hangers," said Marcinko.
"We are trying to get a beautification grant to assist us in putting grass in that area, but I am sure we're not moving as fast as the pilots would like us to," said Loomis.
It could take years for the city to know when or if it will build a new airport. The airport in Idaho Falls and Pocatello said they do not have a comment at this time regarding the the idea of having a regional airport in Blackfoot.