Study recommends changing name of Outagamie County Regional Airport to Appleton Airport

By Millaine Wells, Local 5 News

Published 01/31 2014 04:22PM

Updated 01/31 2014 07:32PM

OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) - Since the 1940's the airport in the Fox Cities has been known as the Outagamie County Regional Airport.

Soon it could be changed to the Appleton Airport.

A first of its kind study was just released that says the airport needs a new name.

This is not a new topic of discussion.

In fact, dating back to the 80's a name change has been suggested.

However, community leaders say this time they believe there is momentum to follow through.

"When I fly out of here I tell them I am flying out of Appleton. I do not say Outagamie because everybody knows its Appleton" says passenger David King.

The airport is marketed as ATW, standing for Appleton Tower Wisconsin.

Boarding passes also say Appleton which adds to the confusion.

In today's competitive marketplace it could be keeping valuable tourism and business dollars away.

"Our name does not reflect our airport. Many people associate regional and county with low quality farm community airport" explains Outagamie County Board Supervisor, Tanya Rabac.

The study found locals are fine with the name.

"I do not think it really matters does it, it is still going to be the same airport and the same place" says Jeff Thoney, who is flying out of the airport.

However, about 80 percent of the airports riders are here on business.

"We definitely have had feedback over the years of people who said they couldn't find the airport because of the name or said they had difficulty even understanding that we had an airport" says Pam Seidl, Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau. 

The cost to change the name is roughly $140,000 with the bulk of that going to change signs.

The money would all be absorbed by the airport without taxpayer dollars.

While the airport is technically in Greenville, that name is not up for consideration.

"The report shows that we should uses the solidest hub of an airport our research showed that multiple airports are not actually in the large hub of an area" Travis Thyssen says. He's also an Outagamie County Board Supervisor and served on the committee studying the name.

So why not Fox Cities or Fox Valley Airport?

The study found more than 20 other communities around the nation with similar names.

"It makes sense to go with the big hook, the big destination that they're going to" Seidl says.

The report will be formally presented to the Outagamie County board on February 11, 2014.

The public is welcome to come speak and share opinions.

To read the full report click here.

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