Wednesday, October 25, 2017

San Francisco to Stockton: Don’t add our name to your airport


Harshly worded letters from San Francisco officials to San Joaquin County leaders have put a stop to renaming the region’s airport.

Officials were looking to rename Stockton Metropolitan Airport’s to San Francisco-Stockton Regional Airport.

The name change was up for consideration by the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors Tuesday. However, after receiving the letters, the board decided to postpone the vote.

Stockton Metropolitan Airport sees about 200,000 passengers each year. That’s a far cry from the 53 million that travel through San Francisco International Airport each year.

Despite the two cities being roughly 80 miles apart, San Joaquin County saw an opportunity to increase passenger traffic and airport awareness by associating itself with Northern California’s most popular destination.

Here's a closer at the issue:

What San Francisco is saying

In his letter, SFO Airport Director Ivar Satero wrote the name change, "is likely to cause confusion or mistake among the public in suggesting a relationship or connection between the two airports that does not exist.”

Congresswoman Jackie Speier also sent a letter, saying confusion “would be painful for all concerned if a passenger happened to arrive in Stockton rather than on the San Francisco Peninsula.”

How Stockton is reacting

Stockton Metropolitan Airport Director Harry Mavrogenes urged the board to cancel its vote after consulting with a county attorney.

However, receiving the letters caught him off guard.

“I was somewhat surprised by it because we’re not trying to take away or confuse passengers,” Mavrogenes said. “Using the name San Francisco doesn’t apply a relationship, but I understand his concern.”

What Stockton residents think

Sitting inside the airport restaurant overlooking the runway, Stockton residents weighed in on the proposed name change.

Randy Buckley worries travelers would get off in Stockton expecting San Francisco.

“What if they get in a cab or a taxi, and say, ‘I want to go to San Francisco,’” Buckley said.

Others like Maria Gutierrez understand the rebranding could mean more visitors coming to Stockton.

“They basically want people to fly in. It’s good business for them,” Gutierrez said.

What’s next

While standing firm against the potential renaming, SFO did offer to help Stockton Metropolitan Airport with its marketing and branding, even suggesting a campaign that promotes both airports.

A vote on a new name for the Stockton airports is off the table for now and isn’t expected to resurface anytime soon.

Story and video ➤

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