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Idaho Falls Airport seeks protection for control tower

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - Idaho Falls Regional Airport wants to convince the Federal Aviation Administration to allow its control tower to remain open.  The airport has received a letter from FAA warning that, because of budget sequestration, small airport towers would be closed unless they can prove "negative impact on the national interest."

Idaho Falls' tower is operated under contract with a private company.

As part of its case, Idaho Falls and IFRA claim the airport is the only pharmaceutical stockpile drop-off point in eastern Idaho, western Wyoming, and southern Montana that has been approved by the Centers for Disease Control. 

The airport also argues it is the service center for Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center's 250-mile radius service territory, is a critical hub to transport Idaho National Laboratory's production of critical medical isotopes, and is the only diversionary airport for multiple commercial and private aviation aircraft. 

According to Grow Idaho Falls, Idaho Falls Regional Airport hosted 9,435 commercial aircraft operations in 2012 including 168,000 passenger emplanements, and over 40,000 combined annual operations.  The airport also processed over two million pounds of air cargo.

The airport has till March 13th to make its case with the FAA.

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