The Driggs-Reed Memorial Airport is making changes in preparation for the temporary closure of the Jackson Hole Airport coming up from mid-April to late June. The smaller airport won’t be accommodating any commercial traffic—and is not rated to do so—but it is expecting more private planes to land there while Jackson’s is closed.
That’s why the airport is introducing new landing fees for non-local planes over 9,000 pounds.
“That will help our airport protect itself, like financially, in addition to having additional revenue to be able to go towards additional needs to do with the airport and possibly for the city as well,” said Driggs Mayor August Christensen.
The airport accounted for 8% of the sales tax Driggs collected in 2021. The city is expecting that number to rise this year due to the new fees and additional fuel sales.
Christensen also said the city doesn’t have control over which planes can land, or when they can land, because the airport is federally funded and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) controls the runway regulations.
“Like, we wouldn’t say, ‘Oh, you can’t use Highway 22 or 33 in the middle of the night,’” she said. “It’s a public transportation, and so it’s just open to the public.”
However, the airport will be charging slightly higher nighttime (10 p.m. – 7 a.m.) landing fees of $8/per 1,000 pounds, versus $5 during the day, partially in an effort to discourage late landings. Private planes generally weigh between 12,500 to 41,000 pounds, according to the FAA, which would make the typical landing fee for such aircraft between $62.50-$205 during the day and $100-$328 at night.
Larger commercial planes are expected to be rerouted to other regional airports including Idaho Falls, Salt Lake City, Boise and Bozeman during the Jackson closure for repairs, which are scheduled to last 72 days from April 11 to June 27.