The Idaho Falls Regional Airport (IDA) held its third meeting for the airport master plan on Wednesday and discussed the possibility of turning the smaller runway into a taxiway.

The airport creates a master plan every 10 years to ensure safety and aviation demands.

Since 2021, IDA collected data about the calculated 1.9% growth of passengers and an overall 0.9% growth of airport operations in the next 20 years.

“Normally the master plans take two years. We’re two and a half years into this project and counting,” said Wayne Reiter, the aviation planner. “And the main reason is because when we started, the effects of COVID were still impacting the industry and there was a lot of uncertainty, so we needed things to settle down to develop a good baseline from which to do the forecast projections.”

Wayne Reiter presents the alternatives for the airport master plan.

Wayne Reiter presents the alternatives for the airport master plan. Photo credit: Rosemary Jones

IDA used the forecast projections to make a list of requirements and map out possible ways to renovate the airport to meet all of the necessities.

The IDA displayed the alternate possibilities for airport renovations and allowed citizens to ask questions and express their concerns about the plan.

“I thought it went pretty well,” said Nathan Cuvala, the project manager of IDA.

Reiter presented the alternatives for the four geographical areas of the airport.

The Idaho Falls Regional Airport

The Idaho Falls Regional Airport Photo credit: Rosemary Jones

The city will have to decide either to maintain the runway on the east side of the airport with local funds or turn the runway into a taxiway so it will be maintained with Federal Aviation Administration funding.

“As it stands today, it’s not eligible to receive FAA funding for maintenance and that is due to crosswind and capacity,” Reiter said.

This means that with only the big runway, commercial airlines would not fly when the airport does maintenance.

All the questions and concerns were answered with the knowledge the airport has collected so far.

On the IDA website, the current options for the master plan are posted. There is an open comment section at the bottom of the page to ask questions and express concerns.

This will be open until March 8. The airport will then proceed to finalize the master plan over the next year.