Ogden's proposed airport name change creates a stir in Salt Lake City

Friday , June 22, 2018 - 4:01 PM2 comments

OGDEN — Ogden City’s proposed Ogden-Hinckley Airport name change has been scrapped indefinitely after the idea created a stir in Salt Lake City.

The city’s administration called for the airport to be renamed the “Ogden-Salt Lake Regional Airport” — a maneuver aimed at marketing the facility’s proximity to the Salt Lake City metro region.

• RELATED: Ogden officials hope to gain 'competitive advantage' by changing airport name

The City Council was expected to vote on the name change at its June 25 meeting, but the item has been removed from the agenda.

Ogden Chief Administrative Officer Mark Johnson said the name change resolution was cut after Salt Lake City officials expressed unease with the idea in a Salt Lake Tribune story that published Friday.

The Standard-Examiner reported on the change in March of this year, but officials in Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski’s office apparently hadn’t heard of the proposal until the Tribune story ran.

Biskupski spokesman Matthew Rojas is quoted in the story as saying the office is “not surprised that other communities want to be associated” with the under-construction Salt Lake International Airport, but they fear the name change could “cause some passenger confusion.”

During initial discussions on the proposal, Ogden Community and Economic Development Director Tom Christopulos said Ogden’s proximity to Salt Lake City needed to be more clearly identified as the city moved forward with its quest to bring in commercial flights.

Those flights are seen by the city administration as a major component in making the airport profitable. For more than a decade, the facility has lost about $500,000 to $750,000 annually, subsidized by the city’s general fund.

Allegiant Air operates twice weekly flights to Mesa, Arizona, but the company recently pulled the plug on Ogden flights to Los Angeles and Las Vegas due to low ridership.

Johnson said the city is still working to attract commercial carriers, but until something solid comes along, the name change will be tabled.

“We’re basically going to do a reset,” he said. “We’re going to work with Salt Lake City, but there’s no hurry on this right now.”

The airport was named after Robert H. Hinckley, an Ogden resident who once served as Assistant Secretary of Commerce.

You can reach reporter Mitch Shaw at mishaw@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23 or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/MitchShaw.StandardExaminer.

Sign up for e-mail news updates.