Reporting Matt Bigler
SAN JOSE (KCBS/BCN)- San Jose’s unusually long airport name may be getting even more wordy. Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International officials are considering re-branding the airport to better reflect its location in Silicon Valley.
The name is already a mouthful, but city officials are talking about making it even longer, adding the words “Silicon Valley” after San Jose. Airport Spokesperson David Vossbrink said it’s the airlines that are asking for a name change.
KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:
The Committee on Airport Competitiveness, formed by Mayor Chuck Reed in November, met to discuss the issue in San Jose Thursday. The group is comprised of Reed and City Council members Rose Herrera, Sam Liccardo and Nancy Pyle.
“As we go around talking to airlines about bringing more flights here to serve Silicon Valley businesses and residents, one of the things that we hear is that people like our airport and our value, but they aren’t sure about our brand,” said Vossbrink.
The airport competitiveness committee is now looking at rebranding the airport, but City Councilman Sam Liccardo said dropping Norman Mineta isn’t an option.
“I suspect that dropping some parts of the name could start riots,” said Liccardo.
Herrera said the name change is just one idea that the committee will discuss, but that the focus is finding ways to showcase the many advantages the airport offers.
“We have one of the best on-time records, much more so than San Francisco. Great weather, a brand-new facility, Silicon Valley with all the great companies nearby,” Herrera said. “We simply need to get the message out to them that San Jose has a competitive advantage.”
Vossbrink said the airport has been struggling because of the recession. It has lost 25 percent of its passengers since 2007 and has had to reduce staffing levels from 400 to 200 since 2008 to help balance its budget, he said.
The airport underwent a major renovation, including adding a new terminal, but the modernization effort has added to the airport’s cost of operations, Vossbrink said.
He said the committee is also considering a proposal to contract law enforcement at the airport, which could reduce costs by $10 million.
“These are tough decisions but we are a business,” he said. “A private-sector business would be doing the same thing that we’re doing.”
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