Tuesday, June 12

Jacksonville Intranational / Interstate Airport

jax jia interstate airportWhen I parked my car at a long-term parking lot to fly out of JAX last year, the guy running the lot gave me a ride. I said something about it being an international airport, possibly because I was worried about getting to the right gate. He just laughed and said, "This is Jacksonville. It's no international airport." Considering he was an international kind of guy, complete with accent, I assumed he was just expecting more. Then I looked it up, and I have also developed a suspicion that Jacksonville International might be misnamed.

Technically, there is ONE international flight to the Bahamas each day. The website also says you can get to any major airport worldwide with one stop. This means you'd be taking a flight from JAX to an international American airport with a layover. The international airports are the ones that allow you to travel out of the country, which leads me to wonder what JAX really is.

My first thought was to tie the airport into the intracoastal waterway and call it an intranational airport. That's actually the easiest, since it only involved changing a couple of letters. The problem is that the meaning isn't terribly clear to most people, even if it does pretty much describe the airport as being within our nation. Just like the intracoastal, however, many people would just be confused and end up calling it international, anyhow.

My next idea was to call it an interstate airport, like interstate highways. It's bigger than a regional airport, but it's really exclusively American, so interstate is probably appropriate. But the problem is that we'd once again be competing with names already in use, this time for highways. People might think it's more of a bus or train depot.

Since Jacksonville is one of the more patriotic cities in our country, how about calling it Jacksonville InterAmerican Airport? Or maybe that would be intraAmerican. Maybe inter-regional is better, since we don't even have direct flights to the West Coast. But that brings us back to just regional, and it's more than just some regional community airport, I think.

Similar Metro Area Airports
Oklahoma City, with a similarly-sized metro area, calls it's airport a "world" airport. That's just as silly, since its world is also only in America. Memphis has another international airport with one flight out of America to Cancun. Raleigh-Durham is a legit international airport, with flights to Toronto, London, and Paris. Richmond International is even more sad as an international airport than JAX, with nothing leaving the country, unless you count Minneapolis. Louisville International is, like Richmond, not international at all. Louis Armstrong New Orleans is truly international, with several flights south of the border, one to Toronto, and two to Europe.

Maybe small airports in the US should fly to small international airports, like Lyon instead of Paris, or Cologne instead of Berlin. Until then, I think we should think about renaming some of our mid-sized airports to something that makes sense. I guess the lesson is that most cities the size of Jacksonville don't have truly international airports, but most of them want to still say they do. It's kind of like me pretending my old Saab and Lincoln are still luxury cars. Or me pretending I can still play baseball at a high level.

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