SFO to Oakland: Don't confuse travelers with airport name change

San Francisco International Airport has joined the chorus of concerns over Oakland International Airport's possible adoption of "San Francisco" into its name.

On Friday, the Port of Oakland, which oversees the operation of the Oakland airport, announced it was considering renaming the airport from Metropolitan Oakland International Airport to San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport.

The Port Commission is expected to vote on the name change at its meeting on April 11.

"It is the perfect way to identify geographically where the city of Oakland is," Port Commission President Barbara Leslie said previously.


Oakland airport considering name change to include 'San Francisco Bay'

Oakland is appearing to take a page out of Houston's, Chicago's, New York's, and Dallas' books- incorporating a second "San Francisco" airport with a possible name change.

San Francisco International Airport, which has used "San Francisco" in its name for nearly a century despite being located in San Bruno, weighed in on the potential name change, fearing confusion among travelers.

"We are deeply concerned about the potential for customer confusion and disservice that could result from this proposed renaming. SFO has operated since 1927 and has used the name ‘San Francisco Airport’ or ‘San Francisco International Airport’ for most of its history, making it immediately recognizable to customers," the airport said in a news release on Monday. "Given this history, we anticipate the new name being considered by the Metropolitan Oakland International Airport will cause confusion for the public, either through a misunderstanding of its physical location or its perceived relationship to SFO."

SFO firmly opposes the incorporation of "San Francisco" into Oakland airport's name.

SFO spokesman Doug Yakel said, "We would hate to see a situation where, traveler books thinking that they're going to one location, and then only when they land do they realize that they're somewhere else that they hadn't intended to go to."

Sen. Scott Wiener also expressed opposition, saying on the social platform X, "I love Oakland, but Oakland is Oakland. It’s not San Francisco. Oakland’s airport should not be cutting & pasting San Francisco International Airport into its name. Please find another way to turn things around."

Oakland has been trying to improve its reputation as the city's vibrant culture and beauty have been overshadowed by crime, forcing some local businesses like In-N-Out, near the Oakland Airport, to flee.

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao, who recently appointed a new police chief after a year without one, welcomes the inclusion of "San Francisco" into Oakland airport's name.

"This adjustment isn't just about signage-it's about inviting travelers to discover all that Oakland and the region have to offer," she said in a written statement on Friday.

However, some X users believe the name change would be detrimental.

"Cue tourist confusion when they show up at San Francisco International Airport with tickets that are actually out of San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport," one user wrote.

"No! Oakland is its own city. Let it keep its identity. Next thing you know SF will be trying to annex Oakland and make it a part of the city," added another user.

"Even Oakland doesn’t like being Oakland anymore," chimed in another user.

The Port of Oakland said it understands the announcement has solicited differing opinions, but the name change would be a win-win for Oakland.

"Our proposed name modification is both pro-Oakland and pro-jobs. We want to boost jobs and economic activity for Oakland. OAK is located on the San Francisco Bay and current travelers know of OAK’s convenience and reliability. We want others to know that our airport is also convenient to top destinations located in the San Francisco Bay Area," the Port said.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors said it plans to take up a vote on Tuesday in opposition to the Oakland airport name change, though the Oakland Port Commission will have final say.

"Imitation is the highest form of flattery, but this isn’t neighborly. While we’ll be voting on an opposition position tomorrow at the @sfbos meeting, happy to collaborate w/ Oakland leaders to further our mutual interests," said Supervisor Aaron Peskin.