Oakland Airport's Name Change Is Causing Controversy — Here's Why

Although the airport code and logo will remain the same, the city of San Francisco is against the name change.

Passengers check in at Oakland International Airports Terminal 1

Jane Tyska/Getty Images

The Metropolitan Oakland International Airport is no longer. Instead, the Bay Area airport has officially changed its name to the “San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport," sparking controversy in the process.

The airport in Oakland, California, changed its name in hopes of attracting more visitors and making it clear where in the state the airport was located, according to the airport.

The airport’s code, OAK, and logo will remain the same.

“The convenience and ease of traveling through OAK won’t change with our name,” Interim Director of Aviation Craig Simon said in a statement. “OAK is the closest major airport to 58 percent of the Bay Area population … This designation will let the world know who we serve.”

The Oakland Board of Port Commissioners voted unanimously to change the name.

However, the change has not been without contention as the city of San Francisco sued the airport over claims the new name violates the city’s trademark rights and would “almost certainly cause confusion among consumers and the public generally,” according to Reuters.

San Francisco operates its own airport, the San Francisco International Airport (SFO), which is located in San Mateo County.

For its part, the Port of Oakland counter-sued the city of San Francisco and asked the court to rule the new name did not violate any trademark rights, according to a statement.

“Changing ‘Metropolitan’ to ‘San Francisco Bay’ in Oakland Airport’s name accurately describes OAK’s geographic location on the Bay and presents the airport as an additional choice for travel into the San Francisco Bay Area,” Port Attorney Mary Richardson said in the statement. “SFO’s lawsuit is a disappointing and anticompetitive effort to discourage competition and choice, and we are confident the Court will agree.”

Oakland isn’t alone in trying to change the name of its airport to better reflect its location. The Montreal Metropolitan Airport also changed its name earlier this year from its previous designation, the Saint-Hubert airport. Per Canadian news network CTV News, the move has sparked similar controversy and legal proceedings by the Aeroports de Montreal, which operates the Montreal-Trudeau International Airport.

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