Competing bills would change name of T.F. Green to either include state or metro area name

Lawmakers on the House Corporations Committee heard a bill Monday night that would change the name of the state's airport to Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Lawmakers on the House Corporations Committee heard a bill Monday night that would change the name of the state’s airport to Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport.

“The goal with the name change is to support better passenger awareness of the airport’s location and destinations, along with increased passenger travel,” said Bill Sponsor Representative Brian Patrick Kennedy.

The bill is sponsored by several legislators and supported by the Rhode Island Airport Corporation.

It’s been up for debate since 2018. Then legislators were debating whether or not to take T.F. Green out of the name, which failed, but including a geographic location in the name did not pass the general assembly in 2018 or 2019.

“After the year of Covid, after what’s happened to the economy and the tourism sector, I think it’s important we try to get this done this year,” said Bill Fischer speaking on behalf of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation. “We’d really like to get going on this name change and get Rhode Island positioned for the summer tourism season.”

Fischer and Kennedy pointed to a 2018 study that showed international passengers, as well as local passengers, had trouble identifying the state airport, and supported a name change.

However Deputy Speaker of the House Charlene Lima, who sits on the Corporations Committee, is working on her own legislation to instead put the City of Providence in the name, renaming it Providence/Warwick T.F. Green International Airport.

“Naming it after a metro area as every other airport in the country does, will make the airport more profitable. And naming it Rhode Island will bring nothing to benefit the people in Rhode Island.”

Supporters Monday said that using the state name works because it’s such a small area.

Lima argues that because no other airport in the country is named for a state, it would be confusing for passengers, and would possibly hurt tourism in the state.

“Providence is that large metropolitan area. That’s where our financial center is, our restaurants are, that’s what it’s known on the ticket, that’s what’s known by the pilots. When they land they say, ‘You have arrived in Providence.'”

The bill was held for further study.

Deputy Speaker Lima will be filing her legislation Tuesday, and is hoping for it to get a hearing in the next few weeks.

Airport officials estimate changing the name of the airport would cost about $200,000. They say it would come out of airport revenues but would not increase ticket prices.

The bill to add Rhode Island to the airport name also has support from Warwick Mayor Frank Picozzi and the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce

Categories: News, Providence, Regional News, Rhode Island, Warwick