In a little over 10 years, Coeur d'Alene Airport/Pappy Boyington Field added over 100 airplanes to the field. Now with spaces filling up, the airport is considering whether to expand or become exclusive.
Steven Kjergaard, the airport's director, posed the question of growth to the Kootenai County Board of Commissioners on Monday after projecting the property to be filled by next year.
"We're running into an issue in the near future where we are going to run out of hangar space development lots," Kjergaard said. "We have 10 lots left, and we average about 10 hangar developments a year, meaning we have about one year left."
While the airport has plans to make space for airport hangars, construction could be delayed based on grant assistance from the Federal Aviation Association, Kjergaard said. There is an available property in the airport's extension of citation area, Kjergaard said, but receiving FAA grants could take two to five years.
"So it comes to the question of whether this board wants to say we are full, or if we want to go down this process of actually developing asphalt that we may or may not get reimbursed for," Kjergaard said.
The airport is hoping to add 12 to 20 hangars to the property, Kjergaard said, but that would only allow for another two or three years of hangar installations.
"We are running out of space faster than we ever thought we would have," Kjergaard said. "We planned to develop spaces, but those are long-term plans, not a couple of years down the road."
He expects that if the airport and board of commissioners do nothing, the airport will be turning away applicants in about a year.
According to the state's most recent transportation study, if Coeur d'Alene Airport/Pappy Boyington Field continues on its current trajectory, it would have 350 airplanes housed there by 2030.
Commissioner Leslie Duncan pointed out that Idaho has seen the number of pilots slow down in recent years, which may cause a natural slowdown in hangar construction.
"It may reverse itself and go down, but we also continuously have an influx of new people," Kjergaard said.
David Callahan, Kootenai County's director of community development, is working on a white paper on growth issues in the area and measures to mitigate them. Commissioner Chris Fillios recommended that Kjergaard present his concerns to Callahan to include an analysis of the airport's needs.