SFO expresses serious concern over Oakland airport's plan to rename with 'San Francisco Bay' title

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Tuesday, April 2, 2024
SFO expresses serious concern over OAK's proposed name change
SFO has expressed serious concern over Oakland International Airport's plan to rename with itself with a "San Francisco Bay" title.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- One of the Bay Area's major airports could soon be getting a rebrand.

Last week, officials with the Port of Oakland unveiled a plan to rename the city's airport to become San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport.

"Studies have shown that over half of international travelers, and nearly a third of domestic travelers, do not know where Oakland lies in the San Francisco Bay Area," said Kaley Skantz, a spokesperson for Oakland airport.

Oakland officials say they believe the potential name change would help would be travelers clearly identify the airport with the Bay Area.

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But the proposal has gotten swift pushback from many on the other side of the Bay in San Francisco and at SFO.

"Our concern, especially for international travelers, is that somebody may book a flight thinking they're going to one location, and only when they land do they realize they're going to a completely different airport," said SFO spokesperson, Doug Yakel.

SFO says while they understand Oakland's desire to attract more travelers through its airport, piggybacking on its name is not the way to do it.

Concerns also raised by travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt.

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"I'm not surprised because I think it does risk creating confusion in the marketplace," Harteveldt said.

Harteveldt says, for years, more and more airlines have been cutting flights in and out of Oakland.

"If they incorporate San Francisco into the name, they believe it will help attract more customers. And Oakland believes that will help attract more airlines," he said.

While the name change isn't yet official, there's also questions over whether travelers would fly into the East Bay city - even if they knew where it was.

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At SFO, we talked to several international travelers who tell us they'd be skeptical to fly into OAK.

That includes Mohamed Jalal, who was visiting from Libya.

Mohamed tells us if he ever comes back, he'd still choose to fly into SFO - saying with more options and easier access to the city, it remains his preferred choice.

"The best option when I book the ticket is to use SFO, San Francisco airport," Jalal said.

The Port of Oakland commissioners are set to consider the name change at their meeting on April 11.

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