Authority hopes Jacksonville airports' re-branding will take off with travelers

Craig, Cecil and Herlong airports get new names and updated logo.

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority is renaming three of its airports as part of a marketing campaign to bring more business to the city’s four airports.

The biggest change is at Craig Airport, which was named in honor of a World War II aviator and Jacksonville native who died aboard the USS Pennsylvania during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Craig will now be called the Jacksonville Executive Airport. Officials said the airport’s location off St. Johns Bluff Road, between Atlantic Boulevard and Monument Road, is convenient for executives making business trips because it is close to suburban office parks.

The authority is looking for ways to put James E. Craig’s name on other venues in the vicinity of the airport, such as entry roads.

On the Westside, Cecil Field will become Cecil Airport and Herlong Airport will become Herlong Recreational Airport. Jacksonville International Airport’s name will stay the same.

The JAA also has a new logo, the symbol of an airplane with four slash marks representing the four airports. The aviation authority also unveiled the slogan “Going Beyond, Daily.”

The branding will be part of a three-year campaign that will start with a $125,000 budget. Further expenses for the marketing could add another $100,000. The cost will be determined as the authority decides what kinds of media it will use for the advertising and what geographic locations will be targeted.

For instance, the aviation authority wants to stamp its brand in San Juan, Puerto Rico, when JetBlue begins flying there in May, and in Denver, where Southwest Airlines begins nonstop service from Jacksonville in June.

“The entire campaign is related to the goal of being the best economic engine we can be,” said Steve Grossman, executive director and CEO of the authority.

The name change for the airports does not signify a different course for them but is intended to portray how the various airports are used now, officials said.

The new logo also dovetails with the authority’s plans for marking its 10th anniversary in 2011. The Legislature created the aviation authority by splitting the airports from the Jacksonville Port Authority.

Big Communications Inc., based in Birmingham, Ala., worked with the authority on the new branding campaign. Big Communications has launched similar marketing for other airports.

Herlong Airport was a World War II Navy training base that was given to the city in 1945. It is named for M.B. Herlong, a Jacksonville physician and civic leader who served on the School Board and City Commission, which he chaired in 1924.

Cecil Field was named for Commander Henry Barton Cecil, a Tennessee native who died in 1933 when his U.S. Navy blimp crashed in New Jersey.



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