San Francisco airports in row over potential name change – Business Traveller

Two of San Francisco’s airports are at loggerheads over a potential renaming of Oakland International Airport.

Oakland International (officially named Metropolitan Oakland International Airport) is situated seven miles south of downtown Oakland and 12 miles from San Francisco, on the east side of San Francisco Bay.

The Port of Oakland said it was considering changing the facility’s name to San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport “to boost inbound travellers’ geographic awareness of the airport’s location on the San Francisco Bay”.

Port of Oakland interim director of aviation Craig Simon said that “Market research and interviews with airline partners have shown that routes have not performed as well as they should have due to the lack of geographic awareness, making air carriers reluctant to sustain and add new routes in Oakland”.

“From July 2008 to March 2024, the airport added 54 new routes; 39 of these and 6 pre-existing destinations were lost,” continued Simon.

One example of this is British Airways, which launched flights from Gatwick in 2017 but dropped them the following year.

British Airways to launch new route to Oakland, San Francisco Bay

The Port Commissioners are due to consider the name change later this month, and the airport’s biggest carrier Southwest Airlines said that it is “wholeheartedly supportive of this rebranding that acknowledges OAK’s economic position and influence in the San Francisco Bay area while staying true to its Oakland roots”.

But San Francisco International Airport – the city’s primary international airport and located around 14 miles south of San Francisco’s financial district – has expressed “serious concerns” over the potential name change.

In a statement airport director Ivar C. Satero said:

“We are deeply concerned about the potential for customer confusion and disservice that could result from this proposed renaming. SFO has operated since 1927 and has used the name ‘San Francisco Airport’ or ‘San Francisco International Airport’ for most of its history, making it immediately recognizable to customers.

“Given this history, we anticipate the new name being considered by the Metropolitan Oakland International Airport will cause confusion for the public, either through a misunderstanding of its physical location or its perceived relationship to SFO. This concern is only compounded considering SFO’s status as a major international gateway.

“We request the Metropolitan Oakland International Airport not proceed with any name change that would incorporate the use of ‘San Francisco’, as this would only result in confusion and inconvenience to the traveling public we all serve.”

It’s by no means the first time an airport name change has created controversy – in 2004 Teesside International was renamed Durham Tees Valley Airport, a move that was widely condemned by the local population.

The original Teesside name was reinstated in 2019 after 93 per cent of residents voted in favour of the move.

Which airport names do you find the most confusing? Let us know in the comments section below.,

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