Oakland officials vote to include ‘San Francisco’ in airport’s name

FILE - Travelers prepare to enter Oakland International airport Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013, in Oakland, Calif. Oakland's airport is considering a name-change to include “San Francisco” to attract more passengers but San Francisco officials are slamming the move, saying it will confuse travelers since there is already a San Francisco International Airport. The Board of Commissioners for the Port of Oakland will take up the question at its meeting on Thursday, April 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

SAN FRANCISCO — Oakland officials have voted in favor of changing the name of the city’s airport to San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport, despite San Francisco threatening a lawsuit over what it says is a trademark violation.

The Board of Commissioners for the Port of Oakland voted unanimously Thursday to move forward with the name-change and scheduled a second vote for final approval on May 9.


The airport is currently called Oakland International Airport.

Oakland airport officials have said travelers unfamiliar with the region fly into San Francisco’s airport even if their destination is closer to the Oakland airport across the Bay.

Modifying the name to San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport will change that, they say. The airport’s three-letter code OAK would not change.

“We are standing up for Oakland and the East Bay,” Port Commission President Barbara Leslie said in a statement after the vote. “This name will make it clear that OAK is the closest major airport, for 4.1 million people, three national laboratories, the top public university in the country, and California’s Wine Country.”

For nearly an hour, the commissioners listened to public comments that included some Oakland residents and several airline representatives who supported the name-change, and representatives of San Francisco tourism and hospitality interests who opposed it.

Some supporters asked commissioners to consider having Oakland ahead of San Francisco in the new name.

Once final approval comes next month, “staff will move forward with the formal renaming, including working with air carriers, other airports, and local agencies to reflect the modification in airport and airline systems,” the port commission said in a statement.

Oakland airport officials approved the name-change at a time when the city, like many other major cities, is grappling with rising crime and the fallout from losing the last professional sports team that called the city of 430,000 people home. Last week, the Athletics announced the team will leave Oakland after this season and play temporarily at a minor league park near Sacramento until their planned new stadium in Las Vegas is built.

The name-change suggestion had horrified San Francisco officials, who say it will confuse travelers, especially those flying in from abroad.

Ivar C. Satero, director of San Francisco’s airport, had said they are “deeply concerned” over the potential for customer confusion and disservice.

San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu on Tuesday threatened to sue Oakland officials if they pursue the name-change

He argues it would violate the city’s trademark on “San Francisco International Airport.”

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