A push to move the Burley airport has been underway about 20 years, but 30 people attended an update meeting Tuesday nonetheless.
GDA Engineers, hired by the city to draft a master plan, held the meeting.
The master plan will go back to square one to establish whether the airport can be modified to meet FAA standards or a new airport is needed.
Some environmental studies also will be done, GDA officials said.
If the city fails to move the airport or correct its flaws, it will lose Federal Aviation Administration maintenance funds. Without that money, the airport would close, city officials have said.
The FAA won’t close the facility; it will simply stop providing money. The burden would fall on Burley taxpayers with possibly a little state funding.
“Burley needs a new airport,” said Mike Pape, administrator for the Idaho Division of Aeronautics.
The airport has a $2.5 million economic impact on the area each year and provides 50 jobs, Pape said.
But it lacks sufficient safety areas at runway ends, as well as object-free zones beyond the runways to protect people and property beyond, said Steve Engelbrech, the FAA project manager and civil engineer.
In order to meet the standards, the short runways would have to be reduced further.
More than 20 years have passed since the airport received significant asphalt work, and most surfaces are in poor to failing condition, Engelbrech said.
Work on the study has begun, and a camera now records what kinds of aircraft actually use the airport, said Rick Patton, of GDA. Then the company will develop a aircraft to represent the typical user and determine needed specifications for the airport.
Several people at the meeting asked about security and whether the land would even be for sale at the preferred and alternative sites selected.
Patton said the company has not been determined if the city needs a new airport, so it won’t address those questions yet.
For more information, visit the project portal at www.gda.engineers.com.Registration is required.