The Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC) today applauded Senate and House leadership for the introduction of legislation that would change the name of T. F. Green Airport to “Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport.” The legislation will better position Rhode Island’s main airport to support the state’s economy and tourism sector that was recently introduced in both the House and Senate, H.6051 and S.0519, with the support of members of the Warwick legislative delegation.
“On behalf of all at the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, I want to extend my sincere appreciation to the Senate and House leaders for finding common ground to consider this important legislation which provides an opportunity to invest in Rhode Island’s economy without impacting the state budget,” said Iftikhar Ahmad, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation.
“We fully support the proposed name of ‘Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport,’” added Mr. Ahmad. “The ‘supply’ of flights will be chasing ‘demand’ created by passengers for the foreseeable future. A geographic location identifier will help strengthen demand by projecting T. F. Green Airport as a good alternative to Logan Airport.”
“The airport is an economic engine for Warwick and Rhode Island and this opportunity to raise the airport’s brand awareness could attract even more domestic and international travelers to the Ocean State,” said Senate Majority Leader McCaffrey. “More passengers means more dollars spent at Warwick and Rhode Island businesses.”
“It is important that we do all we can as we return to traveling and vacationing again, to help our travel and tourism economy and build on the airports’ success prior to Covid-19,” said Representative Brian Patrick Kennedy, a sponsor of the legislation in the House. “Adding ‘Rhode Island’ and ‘International’ to T. F. Green Airport is part of that process to help improve state name recognition and encourage more travel to Rhode Island and the Ocean State.”
“We are so excited our airport is now getting the international attention it so deserves. This is our opportunity to show travelers here and abroad what Warwick and Rhode Island really can offer,” said Mayor Frank Picozzi. “We hope, as this pandemic gets under control, more people will touch down at Rhode Island T.F Green International Airport and I’m thrilled to see what the future holds.”
“This proposed name change will help better identify Rhode Island as a destination with domestic travelers and, as we address the pandemic, throughout the world,” said Jonathan N. Savage, chair of RIAC’s Board of Directors. “Even prior to the pandemic polling data and research demonstrated the economic benefits of a geographically distinct name change. We are thrilled that our state’s leadership is making this change now to help Rhode Island’s recovery.”
Of the 376 primary mainland airports in the country as defined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – airports servicing more than 10,000 passengers annually – only 32, including T. F. Green Airport, do not have the city, region or state in its name. The proposed name change would represent the second name change for the airport. The airport was established in 1931 as Hillsgrove State Airport, becoming the first state airport in the nation. In 1938, the airport was renamed T. F. Green Airport in honor of Rhode Island Governor and Senator Theodore F. Green.
A 2018 brand awareness poll conducted by Pan Atlantic Research surveyed 1509 respondents in four separate segments, including 609 Rhode Island residents, 300 Connecticut and Massachusetts residents, 300 air travelers from major U.S. cities and 300 air travelers from Europe. The poll conducted by Pan Atlantic Research revealed:
- Only 10.3% of U.S. respondents correctly named Providence and/or Rhode Island as the city/state served by T. F. Green Airport;
- Name recognition of T. F. Green Airport is exceptionally low even among residents of Connecticut and Massachusetts where 67% – or 2/3rds surveyed – could not identify T. F. Green Airport as Rhode Island’s commercial airport, unaided;
- Even among Rhode Islanders, 57% of state residents could not identify T. F. Green Airport by name as their local commercial airport;
- Outside of the United States, 87% of European air travelers surveyed could not identify T. F. Green Airport.
About T. F. Green Airport: A convenient and low-cost gateway to New England, T. F. Green Airport (PVD) has a large catchment area with 7.5 million residents within 90 minutes of the airport. It attracts passengers from nearby Massachusetts and eastern Connecticut. PVD is located just outside of Providence, Rhode Island. Well known for ease of traveler access, affordable parking, and faster security lines, T. F. Green Airport was named as one of USA Today’s Readers’ Choice Best Small Airports” for 2021 as well as “Top Five” in Travel + Leisure’s “World’s Best 2020” Awards for Top Domestic Airports. T. F. Green was most recently named 4th “Best Airport” in the U.S. in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards.