Bob Hope Airport

Bob Hope Airport will temporarily become Burbank Bob Hope Airport to attract summer passengers to the area. (Tim Berger / Staff Photographer / August 8, 2011)

Bob Hope Airport will soon be known as Burbank Bob Hope Airport as part of a new summer ad campaign to drive more passengers to the regional airfield during its peak travel time of the year.

The temporary name change comes as officials respond to airline concerns about the lack of a city identifier in the name of the airport, said John Hatanaka, the airport's senior deputy executive director.

Dan Feger, the airport's executive director, said that, for now, the name change was only for the summer advertising campaign.

“Our airport customers don't know where Bob Hope Airport is,” Feger said.

He added that the Hope family recognized back in 2009 that many local residents still called the airfield the Burbank Airport.

“But they understood there should be a linkage between Burbank and the Bob Hope Airport name,” Feger said. “We'll continue to have discussions with the Hope family about this notion of marrying the two concepts together and the reasons why we're going to do that.”

Feger said an official name change would require a great deal of time, effort and approval by the three respective city councils.

“[It] would far eclipse our ability to do it and still capture the summer traffic,” he said.

The airport has had six different names since its opening in 1930: United Airport, United Air Terminal, Lockheed Air Terminal, Hollywood-Burbank Airport, Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport and Bob Hope Airport, which it has been called since 2003.

Airport Commissioner Steve Madison said he doesn't think the airport's brand should just develop itself.

“We should really make the decision to have a brand,” he said. “Everyone in my circles, we just call it Burbank. So I agree that perhaps the Bob Hope legacy hasn't taken root.”

The authority should choose a name that will attract customers, Madison added.

“Choose the brand that is going to help us pursue the message the best,” he said.

Commissioner Chris Holden asked if the ad campaign is being developed too late to capture a large amount of summer travelers.

“[Some families] may have already set their travel plans in motion,” Holden said.

The campaign will target three of the airport's top four markets offering direct flights to the airport — the North Bay area, Sacramento and Phoenix, said Steve Forsythe, president and chief executive of Las Vegas-based FFE Group, which is creating the ad campaign. The other top market, Las Vegas, will not be targeted because its travelers to Burbank are made up of mostly local residents who already know about the airport.

Secondary markets to be hit with ads will include Atlanta, Chicago and Houston, Forsythe said during a meeting on Monday of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, the tri-city agency that owns and oversees the airfield.

The $445,200 campaign will consist of a combination of online and print advertising, but the majority — $290,500 — will be directed to online media, including travel sites such as Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz.

Feger agreed the campaign is getting off the ground late, but airport officials had hoped more airlines would add flights or another air carrier might come onboard to offer nonstop service to Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.

American Airlines, which has a hub in Dallas-Forth Worth, moved out of Bob Hope Airport in February.

Forsythe said he will return for a meeting scheduled on Monday with more details about the ad campaign so it can launch sometime next month.