A new terminal built for the airport in Wichita will open in Spring 2015. Courtesy Wichita Mid-Continent Airport
History buffs and frequent travelers know there are U.S. airports named for Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Gerald R. Ford, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Soon, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the nation’s 34th president, will have an airport named in his honor too.
The resolution moves now to the Wichita Airport Authority, which will vote on the name change in early April.
“The authority board members are the same as the city council members,” said Victor White, Executive Director of Airports at the Wichita Airport Authority, “so we expect it to go through and a formal document sent to the Federal Aviation Administration.”
Once FAA approval is secured, the name change could become effective around March 2015, when a new $200 million terminal and parking project to serve the airport’s 1.5 million annual passengers is complete.
The airports’ identifying code, ICT, would remain the same as IKE already belongs to Ikerasak Heliport in Greenland.
“Only a handful of airports are named after former presidents and this would put us in a unique group,” said White. And while “renaming serves the wonderful purpose of recognizing the only president raised in Kansas, it’s a lot of work and could end up costing several hundred thousand dollars to do.”
While the airport authority would not have to pay for replacing highway signs off airport property, it would have to pay to replace marketing materials that bear the airport’s current name and purchase other items such as new uniforms and decals for airport vehicles.
A statue of Eisenhower and a display telling his life story might be paid for by donations or corporate sponsors, said White, but there will be also be expenses associated with a new logo and a new image campaign.
The airport’s current tag line – “Convenient. Friendly. Affordable” – will also be changed, perhaps to something that takes a cue from the “I Like Ike” tag line popular from the 1952 presidential campaign and referenced often by supporters of the airport name-change.
“Our marketing firm is chomping at the bit,” said White. “So I’m sure we’ll have some fun with that.”
This signage was removed to make way for the new terminal.
Rebranding the airport will cost money, but it could also boost the airport’s bottom line, said Neal Burns, director of the Center for Brand Research at the University of Texas at Austin.
“Airports are essentially businesses,” he said. “One of things you have to hope is that the airport will be viewed more favorably and have more esteem nationally and internationally and be able to charge more for advertising space on the walls.”
As it works through the name-change process, the Wichita Airport Authority has been getting helpful advice from the staff at Arkansas’ Little Rock National Airport, which last year was officially renamed to honor former President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary, who served as a senator and secretary of state.
“We shared with the Wichita staff our experience in working with the FAA to file the necessary paperwork to process the name change and how we created our new brand,” said Shane Carter, spokesman for the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
Little Rock is home to the Clinton Presidential Center and is now Arkansas’ No. 1 attraction for out-of-state visitors. Since plans for the center were announced approximately $2.5 billion in economic development has been invested in downtown Little Rock, said Carter.
The Little Rock airport was completing a $67 million construction initiative when the renaming occurred and so the expense for new signage was budgeted into the project.
“New stationery, interior signage and uniforms were ordered as needed,” said Carter, “and the airport is also working with the Clinton Foundation to produce two exhibits to be located inside the airport.”
San Francisco International Airport will re-open its newly renovated Terminal 2 to the flying public on April 14, but first there will be a media day (April 6th) and a community open house (April 9th.)
For those who can’t attend the open house or who won’t be flying to or from San Francisco on American Airlines or Virgin America – the two airlines that will be using T2 – anytime soon, StuckatTheAirport.com has been offering previews of the terminal.
That artwork includes a fun piece by Charles Sowers that includes mechanical butterflies.
Elsewhere in the terminal, sound artist Walter Kitundu has installed interactive benches that double as musical instruments.
The wings in one of the birds in Kitundu’s mural can also be played.
Part two of our SFO T2 preview focused on some of the special touches, such as live plants, living-room style furniture, work areas, generous restrooms and those handy water bottle refill stations.
The dining options – which were still under construction when I toured the building – will include: Andale – made-to-order Mexican food
A restaurant/lounge by Cat Cora, one of the Food Network’s Iron Chef judges
Lark Creek Grill
Napa Farms Market
Peets Coffee & Tea and Starbucks
Wakaba Sushi & Noodle
and The Plant Organic and Pinkberry frozen yogurt
Shops will include:
Greetings from San Francisco
Kiehl’s (skin and hair products)
Natalie’s Candy Jar
and a branch of XpresSpa
Here a few more photos of what you’ll see in T2:
Artwork that was been stored away during renovation: