A new name for the Arcata-Eureka Airport in McKinleyville?

From the 12.12.12 edition.

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By Jack Durham

Press Editor

A proposal to change the name of the airport in McKinleyville and the status of ongoing efforts to attract another airline will be discussed Wednesday, Dec. 12 by the McKinleyville Community Services District Board of Directors.

Don Ehnebuscke of the Redwood Region Economic Development Commission is scheduled to give a presentation on the airport issue at the MCSD board’s regular monthly meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at Azalea hall, 1620 Pickett Road.

Over the years, McKinleyville residents have griped about the name of the local airport – Arcata-Eureka Airport. Why, they’ve asked, can’t it be called the McKinleyville Airport, being that it’s in McKinleyville? That issue has never evolved beyond the level of grumbling.

But now there’s an effort to give the airport a name that will encourage tourists to fly to Humboldt County, thereby boosting the economy and possibly lowering airline ticket prices due to the increased flights.

The RREDC is proposing that the airport be renamed the Redwood Coast Regional Airport.

“Airport names can be effective tools to encourage travel to particular destinations,” stated a report provided to the MCSD by RREDC.  “While travelers may know the name of the National Park, attraction, or larger region they are interested in traveling to, they often are not familiar with the small towns near those destinations. Hard as it is for us to believe, a lot of people who would like to visit the redwoods have never heard of Arcata, Eureka, or even Humboldt County. And entities like the Convention & Visitors Bureau have been promoting our area as the ‘Redwood Coast’ for years, so the proposed new name is a natural choice.”

In an effort to attract more visitors, other airports have changed their names, including Yellowstone Regional Airport (COD) formerly Cody Airport; Glacier Park International Airport (GPI) formerly Flathead County Airport; Coastal Carolina Regional Airport (EWN) formerly Craven County Regional Airport; Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport formerly Gallatin Field Airport; and Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT) formerly Fresno Air Terminal.

According to RREDC, changing the three-letter airport code – in this case ACV – is a difficult process that requires approval of the Federal Aviation Administration.

But just changing the local airport’s name only requires approval by the county Board of Supervisors.

“There does not need to be a connection between the name of the airport and the airport code,” according to RREDC.

RREDC is located in the Prosperity Center at 520 E Street, Eureka or can be reached at info@rredc.com or (707) 445-9651.

Attracting another airline

The RREDC representatives are also scheduled to give the MCSD board a report on efforts to attract a new airline to the airport, which is now served by a single carrier – United Airlines.

RREDC has created an Air Service Development fund, with the goal of attracting another airline to McKinleyville. RREDC would offer a new airline a minimum revenue guarantee for each flight. The money for the airline would come out the fund.

Last week, RREDC announced that it had reached its fundraising goal of $1 million. RREDC hopes to use the money to bring another air carrier to Humboldt County in the coming year.

“We all recognize that air service is a crucial link to the world for Humboldt County, just like the Internet and US101” stated Don Ehnebuske, Executive Director of RREDC, in a press release. “But like many people, we questioned why the community should raise funds to attract an airline to the area. After all, isn’t it their business to provide air service? However, when we started looking into it, we came to understand the huge payback for everyone in Humboldt County.”

The release continues “Ticket prices shot up when Horizon ceased flights from ACV leaving only one airline serving the area, and passengers began driving to other airports to take flights. Average one way ticket prices to Los Angeles are now about $100 over the competitive fares of two years ago, costing the tens of thousands of passengers flying to LA millions of dollars a year. And there are about 50,000 fewer passengers flying from the airport every year, which dramatically reduces FAA construction funding available for local contractors and suppliers. The total loss to the community is at least $5,000,000 per year by the most conservative estimates.”

“The $1,000,000 raised came from the Department of Transportation, the Headwaters Fund, and from over 70 local donors – businesses, tribes, individuals, and local governments. The total local contribution was $250,000. That translates to at least $40 in reduced prices and construction jobs for every $1 invested by the community over the two year agreement with a new airline,”states the press release.

No financial support from MCSD

MCSD staff is recommending that the board listen to the RREDC presentation, but not provide any funding for the effort.

McKinleyville is an unincorporated community, and the district has limited powers. It can pay for sewer, water, streetlights, landscaping, parks and recreation, libraries and drainage. But it has no authority to use its funds to support air service.

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15 Comments

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15 responses to “A new name for the Arcata-Eureka Airport in McKinleyville?

  1. I really like the thought of changing the name of our local airport to the proposed name! Makes me wonder why this wasn’t done decades ago..There could have been millions of dollars brought in to this area through branding our airport with this new name…This name would finally put Humboldt Co. on the travelers radar for something other than the pot growing!!

  2. Anonymous

    I wonder how much this little name change is going to cost?

  3. "Henchman Of Justice"

    Wow,

    Kathy Wilson again. Must have two Kathy Wilsons, Jack…..one for the MCSD (Board Secretary & some other person????). Do explain the difference for readers, please….wouldn’t want conflict of interest allegations! – HOJ

  4. "Henchman Of Justice"

    Jack,

    Frankly, you and your cronie media suppliers misrepresent the news all-the-time to cover-over community abuses that keep your friends employed (or in political power or on some social agenda platter). No amount of money could ever “change your reporting ways; or, the ways of the cronie writers who misrepresent the news or deny reporting the news that needs to be reported”….this shows insincerity and dishonor Jack, something you should consider as a reason your wrinkled rag is not being purchased enough. HOJ tried warning you of your ways years ago and you willfully stay blind to your errors….Oh well, what comes can easily go. – HOJ

  5. xxyyzz

    Is there any data that supports an up tick in the economy with respect to name changes of the airports used in the example?

  6. AJ

    The benefit to tourism obtained from renaming the airport is so minimal as to be laughable. Rename it McKinleyville International Airport and be done with it. They cannot demonstrate a tangible impact. Ask them to.
    If you want a slightly tangible economic impact, name it McKinleyville Interstellar Spaceport and sell nutty UFO T-shirts online. That will have a measurable impact. Get the three-character airport name changed from ACV to UFO.

  7. Leave it alone. They haven’t heard of Eureka, McKinleyville or any other community up here either. And the folks in Mendocino County , unfortunately, also have a claim to “Redwood Coast”.have

  8. jackdurham

    Henchman,
    Yes. That’s exactly why I put out this paper and attend MCSD meetings. It’s to keep my friends employed. You’ve got it all figured out. – Jack

  9. AJ

    Better yet, rename it Redwood Coast Spaceport. The trees are so big, you can see them from space. Our marketing slogan could be, “Biggest trees in the solar system!” or “Biggest trees in the known universe.” It plays into Humboldt being the filming location for Return of the Jedi and After Earth.

    Smirk all you like. It’s a better idea than Redwood Coast Airport, and would generate MUCH more publicity outside of Humboldt County.

  10. Laura

    I think a change of name is an excellent idea, and is a great opportunity to improve the reputation of the airport.

    What I would most like to see is an improvement in service – to stop being the over-priced, frequently delayed, often cancelled, monopoly nightmare that it is now.

  11. Sigh...

    Fa la la la la la la la la. Curses on those that propose a new idea, for they shall release the trolls and creatures of the dark. Burn them for their suggestions! How dare they float a new idea?

    All that HOJ should add to is rants is love to “my precious.”

  12. "Henchman Of Justice"

    Jack, you have friends? Wow, your special! – HOJ

  13. "Henchman Of Justice"

    Sigh,

    HOJ laughs at you, hahahahahahahahaha! – HOJ

  14. "Henchman Of Justice"

    Notice how when HOJ starts posting, people follow! – HOJ

  15. Jason brisker

    I propose the name be changed to Humboldt Redwood Regional Airport. There you go, short, sweet and condensed. Jason Brisker

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