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"Manchester Airport name change hits a nerve"


 
Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Airport name change hits a nerve
By GARRY RAYNO
The Manchester (NH) Union Leader


Manchester - Don't change the name of Manchester Airport. 

That was the opinion of two-thirds of nearly 500 readers who responded to a
survey on UnionLeader.com yesterday. 

Airport Director Kevin Dillon said Monday that officials are considering
changing the name to Manchester-Boston Regional Airport so travelers will
better understand the facility's location and proximity to major business
centers. 

Yesterday, Dillon backtracked, saying there is no initiative under way to
change the airport's name. 

"We are not moving forward with any change. It's unfortunate this has played
out in the media this way," he said. 

Many readers were adamant about not adding Boston or Massachusetts to the
airport's name. 

"To add the name 'Boston' to Manchester Airport is ludicrous! The idiot who
thought of that idea should be fired! We are not Boston and we do not want
to be an appendage of Boston. Let Massachusetts do things their way, we in
New Hampshire will do things our way," wrote one person. 

Others objected to linking Manchester Airport with Logan International in
Boston. 

"If you like to be on canceled flights, wait in long lines that don't move,
and get mistreated by disgruntled people, then Logan is the airport for you.
Otherwise, fly Manchester. Manchester is what airports should strive to be,"
one reader wrote. 

Others were more direct. "Stupid dummies. Leave it alone." 

In results tabulated through noon yesterday, 66.8 percent favored the
current name Manchester Airport, while 13.7 percent favored
Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. Another 14.1 percent offered comments,
not just a vote. Many of those opposed any change. 

In the survey, not a lot of readers were fond of naming the airport after
two deceased New Hampshire residents who were pioneers of space travel:
Christa McAuliffe and Alan Shepard. 

However the airport's original name, Grenier Field, came in third with 5
percent. New Hampshire Airport was favored by 3.7 percent, Christa McAuliffe
Airport, 2.7 percent, and Alan Shepard Airport, 2.1 percent. 

Several people suggested adding "International" or "Regional" to the title.
Another popular name was Southern New Hampshire Regional or International
Airport. 

Readers also had some offbeat suggestions, such as Brady Sullivan
International Airport to "match most of Manchester's buildings," Londonderry
International Airport, Alfred Testa International Airport to honor the
former director, and Kevin Dillon Dreamport for the current director. 

Other suggestions include Baines/Wieczorek Airport, and The Airport You
Might Be Able to Reach Some Day If The Connector Highway and or Rail
Connection Ever Gets Started By a Lethargic Legislature. 

Yet one more suggestion was "Boston North End Airport because that is what
New Hampshire is now." 

Dillon noted the airport generates more than $1 billion annually for the
state economy. 

For Manchester's growth to continue, the airport needs to adjust to changing
dynamics in the aviation industry nationally and here in New England, he
said. 

"Just as you did when the Manchester Union Leader changed to the New
Hampshire Union Leader to better reflect what you want to be," Dillon said. 

"(The discussion about changing the airport's name) was merely an internal
discussion and internal review about what is in the best interest of the
airport and ultimately what is in the best interest of the city and the
state," Dillon said. 

Jack Ferns, state director of aeronautics, said any change in the name "is
not for me to say. I understand their thoughts and the process to show a
locale for those who aren't familiar with the New England region." 

He said as Manchester expands with non-stop flights throughout the country,
officials want to make it a destination and capture some of Boston's
traffic. 

Any name change would have to be approved by the Board of Mayor and
Aldermen, but to date nothing has been discussed with the board. 

Ward 1 Alderman Mark Roy said that, from a marketing standpoint, there may
be people in the West or Southwest who know nothing about Manchester. 

"I'd rather correct that problem than re-name our airport," he said. 

Ward 6 Alderman Real Pinard said he doesn't particularly care if the name is
Manchester-Boston, "but I'd probably rather see Manchester Regional Airport
rather than Manchester-Boston." 

At-large Alderman Mike Lopez had this to say at last night's aldermen's
meeting: "Four million passengers found Manchester, New Hampshire, without
using the word Boston. I don't see why we should promote Boston."


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