MLK Advisory Group: Renaming airport top choice to honor Martin - KCTV5 News

MLK Advisory Group: Renaming airport top choice to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. in Kansas City

Posted: Updated:
(File photo) (File photo)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A group looking to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in Kansas City supports naming the new Kansas City International Airport after the Civil Rights leader. 

Kansas City Mayor Sly James appointed the 11-member advisory group to debate different ideas amid an effort to rename The Paseo after King. 

Kansas City is one of the biggest cities in the country that does not have a street name in King's honor. 

Finishing second behind the choice of the new KCI was renaming 63rd Street after King. 

James will present the group's recommendation, as well as addressing any future steps, in a press conference at 3:30 p.m. Monday at the Kansas City Public Library's Plaza Branch, located at 4801 Main Street.

At least one official in Kansas City has concerns about renaming the airport in King's honor. 

Patrick Klein, Director of Aviation, Marketing & Air Service Development for the Kansas City Aviation Department, told the committee in a May 10 letter that most airports that carry an individual's name are "not well-known." 

"Unfortunately, the majority of airports that carry an individual’s name are not well-known," Klein wrote in the letter. "This causes significant issues when it comes to marketing, branding, and airline recruitment, especially in regards to the international marketplace."

Klein's full letter: 

Members of Mayor Sly James’ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. advisory group:

Thank you for your work and collaboration regarding the opportunity for Kansas City to properly honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

As the Deputy Director of Aviation, Marketing & Air Service Development for the Kansas City Aviation Department, I wanted to provide some perspective regarding airport branding. Thank you for your consideration.

It’s not difficult to begin assembling a list of well-known airports that are named to honor very special individuals. Airports like Charles de Gaulle (CDG), JFK (JFK) and Heathrow (LHR) quickly come to mind as both well-known and geographically identifiable global gateways.

Unfortunately, the majority of airports that carry an individual’s name are not well-known. This causes significant issues when it comes to marketing, branding, and airline recruitment, especially in regards to the international marketplace. For example, I offer these Top-100 U.S. airports that have both national and international branding issues as their names do not clearly communicate their geographic location:

  • John Glenn International Airport
  • Gerald R Ford International Airport
  • T.F. Green Airport
  • Louis Armstrong International Airport
  • John Wayne Airport
  • General Mitchell International Airport

You are likely aware that the Aviation Department manages an airport that is named to honor a visionary Kansas Citian. Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport (MKC), located just north of downtown, is a front door to Kansas City for general aviation and business aviation travelers. When we are promoting Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport and meeting with representatives from flight departments of Fortune 500 companies their first question is always the same: “Now where are you from?” 

I believe it is also worth noting that current best practice for airports is to remove or lessen non-geographic words from their names. This is evidenced right here in Missouri where Lambert-St. Louis International Airport was renamed in 2016 to St. Louis-Lambert Airport. In California, Lindbergh Field was renamed to San Diego International Airport in 2003. On the east coast, T.F. Green Airport will likely become Rhode Island International Airport later this year. “The name change properly reflects the direction the airport is headed and better identifies Rhode Island as a destination with travelers both domestically and around the world,” said Jonathan N. Savage, chair of RIAC’s Board of Directors.

As Kansas City considers many opportunities of how to properly honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, I encourage you not to seek to rename Kansas City International Airport. Doing so would remove the airport’s critical geographic indicator, create confusion among the traveling public and would hinder the Aviation Department’s ability to effectively market Kansas City both nationally and internationally.

Again, thank you for your consideration.

Best regards,

Patrick Klein

Director of Aviation 

Powered by Frankly
KCTV 5 News

Online Public File:
KCTV  KSMO

Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2018, KCTV; Kansas City, MO. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.