Lawmakers Propose Changing Airport Name To RI International Airport

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State officials at T.F. Green Airport during a 2017 news conference.
Credit Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Two top state lawmakers are introducing a bill Wednesday to rename T.F. Green Airport as Rhode Island International Airport, a move meant to bolster the airport's recognition.

According to a news release by the RI Airport Corporation, "RIAC officials believe the name change will support better passenger awareness of the airport’s location and destinations along with increased passenger travel.  Of the 376 primary mainland airports in the country as defined by the FAA – airports servicing more than 10,000 passengers annually - only 32, including T.F. Green, do not have the city, region or state in its name."

The name-change legislation is being introduced by the respective majority leaders in the House and Senate, Joseph Shekarchi and Michael McCaffrey, both Warwick Democrats.

“Our airline partners have been telling us they believe the name change will increase travel at the airport," Iftikhar Ahmad, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation. "This critical feedback is coming from tourism officials overseas as well as our airline partners servicing routes domestically. Passengers are not aware there is a new gateway to Southern New England from Europe and the polling we have done to support this decision reflects that feedback."

The Airport Corporation said that if the name-change bill is approved, "care will be taken to preserve and honor the Theodore Francis Green name by changing the name of the Interlink, the airport’s intermodal station, to the Theodore Francis Green Interlink."

A recent brand awareness poll surveyed 1509 respondents in four separate segments, which included 609 Rhode Island residents, 300 Connecticut and Massachusetts residents, 300 air travelers from major U.S. cities and 300 air travelers from Europe.

The Airport Corporation released a poll, conducted by Pan Atlantic Research between January 18 and January 23, based on interviews with 609 Rhode Island residents, 300 Connecticut and Massachusetts residents, 300 air travelers from major U.S. cities and 300 air travelers from Europe. These are some of the findings:

RI residents support the name change to Rhode Island International Airport:
•    37.4% support the new name, 41.5% are neutral, and 21.0% oppose
•    64.0% believe the new name will be best for the economy of the state and region
•    62.4% believe it is the best name to represent the destination to inbound travelers
•    53.4% would be more likely to support the name change if they knew airline partners supported the change
•    79.1% believe growth at the airport will make a positive contribution to the economy of the state.