Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Idaho Falls Regional Airport Director Len Nelson, who announced Monday he will be retiring in August. Nelson has held the job since 2008.
The city of Idaho Falls is looking for a new airport director to replace Len Nelson, who announced Monday that he is retiring in August.

Nelson, 64, has managed Idaho Falls Regional Airport since 2008, when he came from Pocatello, where he had managed the airport there for 20 years. He began his career with Western Airlines.

Whoever takes the reins will have a lot on their plate. The third largest airport in the state, behind Boise's Gowen Field and Hailey's Friedman Memorial, Idaho Falls Regional Airport supports 1,269 jobs and a $31.5 million payroll, according to the 2010 Idaho Airport System Plan put out by the Idaho Division of Aeronautics. It accounts for an annual economic impact of more than $103 million.

The city of Idaho Falls pays approximately $2.5 million a year to keep the airport running. It receives another $2 million to $2.5 million from the federal government for improvements. In a 20-year projection from 2007, the Idaho Division of Aeronautics estimated that the total number of emplanements would rise from 168,503 to 297,400.

Nelson said regional airports like Idaho Falls' face new regulations all the time. "Any time there's a crash anywhere, the whole air system in this country reverberates," he said. "They want our runways scraped down to the bare pavement all the time. Costs are getting higher and higher. Then you add sercurity. Every week we have a new rule. An airport like Los Angeles can take it in stride, but any increase in cost to us is a real big issue."

Here is a link to the job posting: