Possible Name Change for Castle Airport – Debate Continues

Thursday, October 11, 2007
Possible Name Change for Castle Airport
By Sara Sandrik
KFSN-TV CH 30 (ABC), FResno (CA)

Castle officials say changing the name of the airport would bring in more business. Critics argue it would take away from tradition. Castle Airport Aviation and Development Center is home to 65 businesses, two flight schools, and the sixth longest runway in California. Now Merced County is working to bring cargo and passenger flights to the airport by 2008. Castle officials say there’s one key obstacle keeping those plans from taking off. “The name doesn’t have any recognition outside of the local area,” said John Fowler, Director of commerce. The airport was named after General Frederick W. Castle, a WWII pilot who went down with his plane to protect the lives of civilians below. John Fowler says several consultants have advised the county to change the name to something with more geographical significance.

Last month, Fowler presented the board of supervisors with two possible options: Central California Yosemite Airport and Merced County Yosemite Airport.

“We’re being told that you need to identify your area by location and to establish something that’s important in terms of a destination,” said Fowler.

Any new name would still include Castle Field at the end, but opponents say it will be lost in the long title.

And some Castle based companies say a name change would cost them thousands of dollars in new marketing expenses.

“The idea of changing the name of Castle, to us, is going to be very counter-productive,” said Jim Price, Gemini Flight Support.

Jim price says Gemini Flight Support has already spent thousands traveling and promoting Castle under its current name.

He doesn’t believe a new moniker will attract any more interest.

“There has to be a need for cargo, for passenger, for anybody. The need has to be here, and you can’t create the need with a name,” said Jim Price.

The board of supervisors is set to re-address the name change issue in the coming weeks.

Editor’s Note: See the Castle Airport Name Change Editorial on this site for another point of view

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