The Jackson Hole Airport (KJAC) in Jackson, Wyoming, is a gateway to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park. The Jackson Hole area is a popular outdoor area that offers world-class skiing, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, whitewater rafting, and breathtaking views.
KJAC is equipped with a single runway (01/19) north-south, measuring 6,300’x150’. It is amply proportioned to support regular air carrier service provided by United, Frontier, Delta, America, Sun Country, and Alaska, which has standard carrier services. The single runway has a relatively high weight-bearing capacity of PCN 57, which allows:
- The single-wheel capacity of 75,000lbs
- The double-wheel capacity of 200,000lbs.
- Double-tandem capacity of 380,000lbs.
However, the major downside of JAC is the single runway, which is not uncommon for airports of its size and operational scope (roughly 455,000 enplanements in 2019). Also, the terrain in the area makes it almost impossible to have a second runway, and certainly not one with its own dedicated instrument approach procedures.
When the runway goes under construction, which it inevitably will, the airport has no choice but to shut down operations altogether. Since the runway is short, they do not have the option for a displaced threshold to continue limited operations, either.
KJAC Runway Closing for Reconstruction
According to the Jackson Hole Airport, runway 01/19 will be closed from April 11th through June 28th to undergo a complete demolition and reconstruction. This will be a major repair project that involves 24/7 work, and all areas of the airport will be closed for the duration of the project. The dimension of the runway will not be changed in the project; pilots will not have any surprises when it re-opens, just a nice, smooth runway.
Now, this may sound like a royal pain (it is), but 78 days for a full-depth runway repair is fast. As a personal anecdote, when the author was the airport manager at a comparably sized single-runway airport (5,318’x102’), a simple 4” mill and overlay was conducted, which commenced in July and re-opened in late October.
Corporate air travelers will need to look elsewhere for parking and services, the closest being Driggs-Reed Memorial (KDIJ), located 18nm northwest as the crow flies. KDIJ has a longer runway, measuring 7,300’x100’. However, it has a much lower weight-bearing rating of PCN 28. As a result, single wheel aircraft up to
Also, KDIJ lacks the precision approaches of KJAC (ILS 19), nor does it have the variety of approaches offered; you are limited to RNAV GPS at DIJ. Driggs-Reed is an uncontrolled airport with glider activity on the field, so if you divert there instead of KJAC, keep an eye on the local traffic and the radios tuned in to CTAF 122.700.
The Jackson Hole Airport will re-open after reconstruction with an excellent runway capable of servicing almost every private jet type and most common single-aisle passenger jets. However, keep an eye on the NOTAMs before planning your flights to KJAC, as construction completion dates have a habit of shifting.