What’s in a name?

CEO and President of Tradeport Frank Scremin presented their 2012 update to the General Issues Commmittee meeting on Wednesday morning. The presentation included passenger trends, cargo performance at the John C. Munro International Airport as well as the airport’s performance with respect to other airports in the region.

But one note brought up by Councillor Morelli was the lack of “John C. Munro” in the presentation brought before the committee. Aside from a photo of the passenger terminal building, the namesake of the airport was left off every page in the report.

The airport is developing a rebranding strategy to more effectively position the airport in the market. This rebranding, while still under review, will be presented to committee at a later date.

Councillor Tom Jackson brought up that in other cities the namesake of their respective international airports are integral to the identities of the airports. LaGuardia Airport in New York, named for former New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia, and Toronto Pearson International Airport, named for former Canadian Prime Minister Lester Bowles Pearson.

Both airports have the namesake of the airport front and centre. Jackson wondered why the Hamilton International Airport doesn’t do the same.

Scremin said that the Munro name would not be lost in the change.

Other highlights from the presentation included a small forecasted increase in passenger traffic from last year. Some 336,000 passengers will fly through Hamilton in 2012.

Purolator also recently completed an $8 million apron expansion at the airport last year. Hamilton had the thrid highest cargo volume in the country last year with 85,145 tonnes of cargo, behind Pearson in Toronto and Vancouver International.

Councillor Partridge asked where Tradeport is in terms of attracting other carriers into the airport. Westjet in 2004 moved the bulk of their passenger services to Toronto. Scremin also stated that Tradeport is undergoing a detailed air service strategy which includes building relationships to build services.

Currently no American “low-cost carriers” operate in Canada but they may in 3-5 years. Scremin would like to position Hamilton as a good alternative for access into the GTA. “Hamilton International could fit their low-cost model nicely.”

West Jet is introducing a new regional carrier out west in 2013 and in the east in 2014. Tradeport is actively pursuing the carrier for Hamilton.

Another point brought forward by Partridge was the ground boarding being done at the Hamilton airport and asked if there were plans to upgrade to boarding bridges.

Scremin stated that the challenge with respect to building boarding bridges is that the investment would be recovered through carrier fees. The committee, which is comprised of carriers, prefers to continue with ground boarding until volume and business demand pushes them in that direction.

Oh, and the airport will finally have free Wi-Fi beginning next week. Passengers flying in and out of whatever-the-airport-in-Hamilton-will-be-called can breathe a sigh of relief.

I am an avid follower of sports in the Hamilton region with a passion for sport. If it's a sport and if it's in Hamilton, I'll bring it to you. I'm also a big follower, advocate and knowledge nut about transit in Hamilton. (@HSRTransit) Ask me anything! Catch daily Hamilton sports recaps and highlights on the Bay Observer here: http://bayobserver.ca/category/sports-updates/

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