East Bay travel leaders unified in support of OAK name modification

Oakland, Calif.—April 2, 2024: Today, business groups from Oakland, Walnut Creek, the Tri-Valley, and Berkeley, representing thousands of enterprises in the East Bay, announced support for modifying Metropolitan Oakland International Airport’s (OAK) name to “San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport.”

“The name modification will use the main geographic feature of our region to identify its location, the San Francisco Bay,” said OAK Interim Aviation Director Craig Simon. “This is not about the City and County of San Francisco, or San Mateo County, but about our region and creating jobs in Oakland and throughout the East Bay. No one owns the title to the San Francisco Bay.” He went on to point out that “OAK is the closest airport to 58.5% of the San Francisco Bay Area’s population; two of five major employers are based in the East Bay, and three national laboratories are located here.”

Simon added, “OAK creates over 30,000 direct jobs and generates $1.6 billion in economic impact. Modifying our name will help us compete for new destinations, which will benefit all travelers. There’s no confusion; OAK has been located on the San Francisco Bay since 1927.”

Business organizations representing the travel industry in the East Bay are unified in support and released the following statements:

Peter Gamez, CEO, Visit Oakland

“This change will increase online search visibility for OAK and in turn, bring more visitors to Oakland. This means more people will experience the beauty of Oakland, creating positive economic impact as they stay in our hotels and support our local businesses and attractions.”

Tracy Farhad, CEO, Visit Tri Valley

“Visit Tri-Valley represents Livermore, Danville, Pleasanton, and – California’s fastest growing city- Dublin. Together they welcome over 2 million visitors each year, generating over $770 million in visitor spending and supporting 7,396 local jobs. Visibility in the various online travel booking platforms is an ongoing challenge that we as a Destination Marketing Organization and the airport have in common. An airport name that clearly identifies its geographic location in a more recognizable way will help visitors find and use OAK when they fly here and that is great because OAK is by far the closest airport to the cities we represent. This is a smart move for the airport, and we support it.”

Nicole Hankton, Executive Vice President, Visit Walnut Creek

“Walnut Creek is a growing visitor destination for both business and leisure travelers. Although we are 25 miles outside of San Francisco, most visitors outside of California are not aware of Oakland airport’s easy accessibility to Walnut Creek. As a result, we observe OAK could be overlooked as the closest airport, unless there is an indication of “San Francisco Bay Area” to align with our messaging about us being a San Francisco Bay Area destination. The change will certainly help make it clearer for visitors and we support it as a measure to get more destinations from what is largely considered to be the ‘go-to airport’ for residents here in Walnut Creek.”

Barbara Hillman, CEO, Visit Berkeley

“Berkeley is fortunate to have visitors from all over the world. The San Francisco Bay Area is globally recognized, and Berkeley, because of the University and the various research labs, are well-known to be part of it. Over the years, it’s been our observation, particularly outside the region, that many travelers simply do not understand the proximity of Oakland International Airport within the San Francisco Bay Area. It makes good sense to align the airport name with the globally recognized geographic area where it is located. This will make it easier for air travelers to find and use O-A-K when they plan their travel and that, in turn, will help support more nonstop destinations which is a definite plus for all of us.”

The Port Commissioners will consider the name modification of the airport at their April 11, 2024, Port Board meeting. Once the Port Commission has considered the name modification and taken an action, 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.

You can find a full list of supporters of the OAK renaming here.

About the Port of Oakland

The Port of Oakland generates vital economic activity, community benefits and environmental innovation, as the Port decarbonizes its operations for a cleaner and greener future. Along with its partners, the Port supports 98,345 jobs in the region and $174 billion in annual economic activity. The Port oversees Oakland International Airport, the Oakland Seaport and nearly 20 miles of waterfront including Jack London Square, and a publicly owned utility. The Port of Oakland is Everyone’s Port! Connect with the Port of Oakland and Oakland International Airport through Facebook and Twitter, or with the Port on LinkedIn, YouTube, and at www.portofoakland.com

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Kaley Skantz
Port of Oakland
Airport Spokesperson/PIO
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Robert Bernardo
Port of Oakland
Director of Communications
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