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Oakland Airport Contemplates Incorporating ‘San Francisco’ into Its Name, Drawing Displeasure from San Francisco

Oakland International Airport is considering the addition of “San Francisco” to its name as a strategy to enhance passenger traffic, but the proposal has drawn strong criticism from its neighbors across the Bay.

The Port of Oakland’s Board of Commissioners is set to discuss this matter at its upcoming meeting on Thursday.

Airport officials in Oakland argue that many travelers, particularly those unfamiliar with the region, mistakenly fly into San Francisco International Airport even when their destination is closer to the East Bay airport. They believe that rebranding the airport as San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport could address this issue without altering its three-letter code, OAK.

Craig Simon, the interim aviation director at the Port of Oakland, highlighted the impact of geographic confusion on the airport’s route performance. He noted that the lack of awareness about Oakland’s location has deterred airlines from maintaining and expanding routes, resulting in the loss of 39 out of 54 new routes added between July 2008 and March 2024.

However, the prospect of a name change has sparked opposition from San Francisco officials, who express concerns about potential confusion among travelers, particularly those arriving from abroad. Ivar C. Satero, the director of San Francisco International Airport, voiced deep apprehension over the proposal, emphasizing the risk of customer confusion and inconvenience.

San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu went further, threatening legal action against Oakland officials if they proceed with the name change. He argued that it would violate San Francisco’s trademark on “San Francisco International Airport,” which has been registered for an extended period and is protected under federal law.

Aaron Peskin, the president of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors, introduced a resolution opposing the name change and urging the port commission to reject it. State Sen. Scott Wiener, representing San Francisco, also criticized the proposal, emphasizing the distinct identities of Oakland and San Francisco.

However, some individuals on social media platforms pointed out the irony of San Francisco International Airport’s location in Millbrae, not San Francisco itself. This led to humorous comments and comparisons, including references to the San Francisco 49ers playing in Santa Clara, highlighting the complexity of regional identities and affiliations.

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