Bill to rename T.F. Green Airport draws criticism for omitting ‘Providence’

A BILL to rename T.F. Green Airport has again become controversial. / PBN FILE PHOTO/MIKE SKORSKI.

WARWICK  The star-crossed name change for T.F. Green Airport has picked up a new problem.

A House committee reviewing a proposal to rename the state’s largest commercial airport as Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport placed the bill on hold, after disagreement arose among representatives about what it should be called.

Now the question is whether “Providence” is getting enough due in the proposed name.

The issue of whether and what to rename the airport has stymied lawmakers discussing the issue for four years.

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T.F. Green executives have asked for the legislation to improve public awareness of the location of the airport, particularly in European cities. William Fischer, a spokesman for the R.I. Airport Corp., told legislators that the name change would carry a big impact as people begin to travel again following vaccinations. “We all know COVID has hurt the economy. It has hurt tourism. This small change helps.”

But the legislators have not been able to reach agreement. On Monday, in a meeting of the House Corporations Committee, representatives again disagreed.

Rep. Brian Kennedy, D-Westerly, the House sponsor of the name change, said that it will help attract new visitors to the state, and take care of a lack of name recognition for the name “T.F. Green” beyond Rhode Island.

Rep. Charlene Lima, D-Providence, the House Deputy Speaker, said Monday that people fly to cities, not to states as destinations. She said the airport should be marketed as the Providence airport, not as Rhode Island’s airport.

“The tickets say PVD. When you land, it says — Welcome to Providence. That’s the destination-way to market it. People fly from city to city.”

The bill was held for further study.

Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at macdonald@pbn.com.

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