Oakland airport name change unanimously approved by board as SF continues lawsuit threats

ByRyan Curry and Anser Hassan KGO logo
Friday, May 10, 2024
Oakland airport name change unanimously approved by board
The Oakland Board of Port Commissioners announced it unanimously voted and granted final approval to rename the "Metropolitan Oakland International Airport" to "San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport" on Thursday.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- There won't be a new airport, but Oakland's airport now has a new name: San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport.

Oakland Board of Port Commissioners voted 7-0 to finalize the name change, which takes effect immediately. The Port of Oakland runs the airport.

The board says the main reason for the name change comes down to location. The port says the lack of geographic awareness of where Oakland creates challenges. They argue that Oakland airport should be serving the top 20 US markets. But it is not. The board says research shows a name change would attract more passengers to use the airport by letting people know that Oakland is another gateway to the Bay Area.

"That name change can certainly do that. That brings the knowledge for people past the Mississippi to really understand where Oakland sits in the greater Bay Area. And also internationally. Really of understanding from people around the world where Oakland is," said Craig Simon, interim director of Aviation of Oakland's airport.

RELATED: San Francisco sues Oakland for trademark infringement over airport name change

Meanwhile, the City of San Francisco has filed a lawsuit. It claims that name change infringes on the San Francisco International Airport's trademark.

In a statement to ABC7 News, Jen Kwart with San Francisco City Attorney's Office writes: "It is disappointing that Oakland chose to ignore our multiple offers to collaborate on alternative names and avoid litigation. We have strong federal trademark infringement claims against Oakland, and they have given us no choice to but to move forward with next steps in our lawsuit."

An attorney for the Port of Oakland addressed the lawsuit.

RELATED: Port commission approves plan to rename Oakland airport to include 'San Francisco Bay'

"I authorized our port counsel to file an answer and counter claim to be able to seek a Declaratory Relief Action from the court. What a Declaratory Relief Action is, it's seeking a declaration from the court, that number one, the now board-approved name of San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport does not infringe on SFO trademark. That SFO nor the City and County of San Francisco has rights to trademark or use exclusively, the San Francisco Bay, or the name the San Francisco Bay," said Mary Richardson, a port attorney.

There were people who spoke against the name change during public comment. Many are concerned that increased air traffic will lead to increase air pollution, which will disproportionately impacts some of Oakland's most vulnerable communities.

Also at the meeting was Oakland City Councilmember Noel Gallo. He says there has always been strong regional cooperation on names such as the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge or how the San Francisco 49ers don't actually play in San Francisco.

He supports the name change and hopes more passengers flying to Oakland will lead to more economic activity for the city.

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