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"Massport won't fight Manchester Airport name change"


 
Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Logan International won't fight Manchester Airport name change
By Mark Jewell
The Associated Press


BOSTON --Saying imitation is the highest form of flattery, the manager of
Boston's Logan International Airport said Wednesday he would not fight
Manchester Airport's name change to Manchester-Boston Regional Airport -- a
switch made even though the airfield is in another state 60 miles away.

"We're pleased people are so anxious to affiliate themselves with Boston,"
Craig Coy, chief executive of the Massachusetts Port Authority said.

In fact, Coy said he would support Worcester city officials if they decide
to take the recent advice of a consultant and add "Boston" to the name of
Worcester Regional Airport, which is also managed by Massport.

Coy's comments came a few hours after Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said he
considered the New Hampshire airport's name change an effort to capitalize
on his city's good name.

Calls to the main switchboard were answered, "Manchester-Boston Regional
Airport" on Wednesday, the day after the Manchester City Council voted in
favor of the name change.

The airport's director, Kevin Dillon, sought the switch, hoping to promote
Manchester as a no-hassle travel alternative that's relatively close to
Logan.

Dillon also said the region's airports need to do more to ease Logan's
runway congestion and flight delays by shifting more traffic to smaller
airfields. A $4.4 billion expansion and modernization program at Logan has
eased problems, but not eliminated them, Dillon said.

Meanwhile, surveys indicate Manchester's airport suffers a lack of name
recognition, particularly among customers who buy tickets online and live
outside New England, Dillon said.

"It's a national marketing issue that leads us to do this," Dillon said in a
phone interview.

Manchester had 4.3 million passengers last year, up 8 percent from the
previous year. But this year, airlines' cost-cutting efforts threaten to
reduce the airport's passenger traffic for the first time in five years,
Dillon said.

Logan handled more than six times as many passengers as Manchester last
year, with 27 million -- a figure Coy doubts will be reduced this year by
Manchester's new name.

Rather than fighting in court to prevent Manchester's name switch, Coy said
Logan should cooperate with Manchester and two other airports that are
roughly an hour's drive from Boston: Worcester, and T.F. Green in Warwick,
outside Providence, R.I.

"Imitation is the highest form of flattery," he said. "We think that this is
reflective of not only the great work that Logan has done in making itself a
modern airport, but it's also about the regionalization of airports."

Airports featuring relatively distant, out-of-state cities in their names
are nothing new -- two examples include Baltimore-Washington International
Airport and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

Menino said during an interview with Boston radio station WBZ-AM that he
believed the Manchester airport was trying to use Boston's name to boost
declining passenger traffic.

"Once again, another municipality used the good name of Boston to promote
themselves," said Menino. "Flattery will get you nowhere."

Coy said he spoke with Menino after the radio interview.

"I think the mayor and I are in agreement," Coy said. "He was, I'm sure,
poking a little fun at Manchester."

Phone messages left by The Associated Press seeking comment from Menino's
office were not returned.

The Worcester City Council and a city airport commission are studying a
consultant's report issued in November that recommended Worcester Regional
Airport add Boston to its name, said Julie Jacobson, an assistant city
manager. While Massport manages the Worcester airport -- along with Logan,
and Hanscom Field in Bedford -- it is owned by the city.

Coy said he wouldn't be surprised if T.F. Green Airport also decides someday
to incorporate Boston into its name. An airport spokeswoman said no such
name change was in the works.

Boston "is an important market for us, but we definitely have no plans to
change our name," airport spokeswoman Patti Goldstein said. "People do know
where we are."

On the Net:

Manchester-Boston Regional Airport: http://www.flymanchester.com

Logan International Airport: http://www.massport.com/logan/

Worcester Regional Airport: http://www.flyworcester.com

T.F. Green Airport: http://www.pvdairport.com

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