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    San Francisco Bay beef: Keep our name out of your airport, SFO tells Oakland

    By Natalie Neysa Alund, USA TODAY,

    2024-04-04

    A proposed initiative to rename the Oakland International Airport to the “San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport” isn't flying with a close neighboring airport to its west.

    “We are deeply concerned about the potential for customer confusion and disservice that could result from this proposed renaming," San Francisco International Airport Director Ivar C. Satero announced in a statement released Monday.

    Officials with the Port of Oakland − the entity that runs that airport − announced the proposal late last week, citing its aim is to boost geographic awareness of the airport's location in the San Francisco Bay.

    Both airports are in the San Francisco Bay Area, and about 30 miles apart by vehicle . A third airport − San Jose Mineta International Airport − is located in the region about 35 miles south from Oakland's airport and San Francisco International.

    San Francisco's airport (SFO) is the largest of the three in the Bay Area and about 13 miles south of the city. Oakland's airport is about 20 miles east of downtown San Francisco.

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    'Confusion for the public'

    In the statement, Satero said San Francisco's airport has operated since 1927 and has used the name ‘San Francisco Airport’ or ‘San Francisco International Airport’ for decades, "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," Satero said, adding airport officials' concern is only compounded considering "SFO’s status as a major international gateway."

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    OAK airport code would remain the same under proposal

    Oakland's airport code is OAK - and the brand would not change, Port Commission President Barbara Leslie announced in a video online Friday.

    "We consistently hear from local travelers in our community about their desire for more direct flights to a wider variety of domestic and global destinations out of Oakland," Leslie said.

    Leslie said more than half of frequent international travelers and nearly one third of domestic travelers are unaware of OAK's location "in the heart of Northern California."

    Because of that, she said, flights to Oakland have not performed as well, leading to a loss or routes and making airlines reluctant to add new routes.

    “From July 2008 to March 2024, the Airport added 54 new routes; 39 of these and 6 pre-existing destinations were lost," Port of Oakland Interim Director of Aviation Craig Simon said in the release.

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1Hd3Qs_0sFY0WJJ00
    Oakland International Airport was closed for nearly four hours Tuesday after a knife-wielding man threatened to harm himself. Police ended the standoff by turning off the air conditioning, causing the man to become hot and remove clothing. Melpomenem, Getty Images/iStockphoto

    Oakland defends airport proposed name change

    According to a news release from commissioners, the move is part of an effort to help preserve the airport's 30,000 direct jobs and $1.6 billion in economic impact on the region.

    Commissioners also said Oakland's airport has "strong support" from its airline partners regarding the rebranding.

    “Oakland helped put us on the map in California and we’re wholeheartedly supportive,” Jennifer Bridie, vice president of marketing communications and strategy at Southwest Airlines said.

    Commissioners set to vote on name change next week

    Modifying OAK's name, Port officials said, "is part of a broader effort" to improve passenger experience at the airport, including the following:

    • Upgrading the Terminal 1 check-in lobby;
    • Upgrading restroom facilities;
    • Providing new, local concessions and restaurants.

    Port Commissioners are set to consider the name modification of the airport at their April 11 meeting.

    Natalie Neysa Alund is a senior reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at nalund@usatoday.com and follow her on X @nataliealund.

    This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: San Francisco Bay beef: Keep our name out of your airport, SFO tells Oakland

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