by Sam Hieb
You may or may not have heard that come Jan. 1 Greensboro’s Piedmont Triad International Airport will become Central North Carolina International Airport:
“Changing the name of the airport is a big step. We do not take that lightly,” airport authority chairman Steve Showfety said. “But it is an important step. We need a brand that is recognized around the world, because we are competing around the world.”
Airport leaders said they chose the name because of the airport’s central location in the state and on the East Coast.
During the board’s meeting, airport leaders agreed that a name that focuses on the geographic location will help in industrial recruitment.
Airport leaders expect the processing of developing a new brand and implementing changes to signage, website, letterhead and outward signs of the airport’s identity will take several months to develop.
Part of me can understand the need for a rebranding, given PTI’s struggles over the years to get more commercial flights in and out. By the same token, economic developers have spent an equal number of years building the “Piedmont Triad” brand, and it seems an odd move to just ditch it all of a sudden.
Reaction has not been favorable—the vast majority of letters to the editor in the News & Record criticize the decision. In today’s paper Greensboro resident William Schink writes:
Central North Carolina international Airport? You’ve got to be kidding me! Central North Carolina International … It sounds like a third-tier party school.
LaGuardia, O’Hare … How about naming it for a well-known and loved mayor (Melvin International)? Or, how about selling the naming rights (Krispy Kreme International, Biscuitville International)? Better yet, how about offering the naming rights as part of the incentive package offered to Toyota/Mazda to encourage them to locate at the megasite (Toyota/Mazda International)?
OK, one last suggestion. How about Richard Petty International Airport? You could keep the shorthand (PTI). Oops, actually it’s GSO (Greensboro Symphony Orchestra?).
So unpopular is the decision that it has sparked an online protest petition. Petition organizer Nicky Smith told the High Point Enterprise “someone didn’t think this through. We are not in central North Carolina here — central North Carolina is Seagrove. I think this whole thing is a joke.”