Friedman Memorial Airport (copy)

Friedman Memorial Airport saw a rise in activity in December compared to December 2019.

Takeoffs and landings at Friedman Memorial Airport were up about 5 percent last month compared to December 2019, Airport Manager Chris Pomeroy shared during a board meeting Tuesday.

Overall, airport operations for 2020 were down just 2 percent, he said—a positive figure, given that March and April were “extremely slow” months due to COVID-19 and the Allen and Company conference was canceled in July.

“I’m pleased to see the operation counts for 2020 were relatively stable,” Pomeroy said.

Air traffic began to surge about two days before Christmas, causing a few airspace capacity issues and departure delays, he said. Overall, though, the airport had a “very good success rate” with the completion of flights around the holidays, primarily due to its new instrument approach system.

Since the approach system went online Dec. 3, Pomeroy said the airport had 24 “saves.” Had the system not been in use, 24 flights would likely have been diverted to Twin Falls or Boise.

“That is extremely exciting,” Pomeroy said.

He added that during Monday’s snowstorm, eight out of 11 flights were able to land at the airport. The three flights that didn’t make it in faced visibility of “one quarter of a mile” and heavy snowfall later in the evening, Pomeroy said.

Email the writer: ejones@mtexpress.com

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