It became the Chicago/Rockford International Airport this month, although the airport is about 90 miles from downtown Chicago. Milwaukee and South Bend, Ind., are similar distances from the city, but neither of the public airports in those cities has seen a need to add Chicago to their name.Pedantic note: the Mitchell International Airport train station is at Milepost 78 from Union Station, and the Chicago South Shore and South Bend extends about 90 miles from underneath the Prudential Building. Therein lies a hint that the name change might not deliver the benefits the renamers anticipated. It is possible to reach O'Hare, Midway, South Bend-Niles, and Mitchell by train from the Loop and the inner suburbs of Chicago. (In the few times I've explored the Hiawatha Corridor recently, I have seen substantial Mitchell-Sturtevant or Glenview traffic on board.) Rockford, you're stuck on the Kennedy and Northwest Tollway. But what was that H. L. Mencken line about not going broke underestimating intelligence?
When travelers in Denver are looking at the computer screens of arrivals and departures in Denver or Detroit, they're going to see the listings for Chicago-Midway and Chicago-O'Hare, followed by Chicago-Rockford. There is a value in that association, [RFD executive director Bob O'Brien] said.
The change is unlikely to result in people getting off a plane in Rockford and wondering where the Wrigley Building and Navy Pier are. Entering the word "Chicago" at a site such as Orbitz will only bring up options for O'Hare and Midway, not Rockford.
"You wouldn't choose us unless you chose us on purpose," O'Brien said.When he hears from those angry over the airport's new name, O'Brien said he explains there was a sound financial reason for the move.
"If it creates millions of dollars in economic impact, if it creates jobs and enhances the quality of life here, what do you care what we call it for marketing purposes," he said. "You're still going to say I'm going to the Rockford airport."
(Via The American Mind.)