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Bob Hope may be cut from Burbank airport's name

Over the public-address system, a recorded message welcomes travelers to "Burbank Bob Hope Airport — your gateway to Hollywood."

But inside the terminal building this week, airport staff and private consultants recommended adopting a new identity: Los Angeles Burbank Airport.

The legal name would remain Bob Hope Airport, but officials were hopeful that adding Los Angeles as a geographic identifier would spur an increase in travelers choosing the Burbank facility.

The idea met resistance, not just from the Hope family, but from residents, business representatives and Burbank City Council members. Many supported keeping Hope's name and, perhaps, adding Hollywood. None was in favor of adding L.A. to the equation.

"Los Angeles Burbank Airport" ranked highest among the options survey respondents were presented with during research conducted by Anyone Collective, a firm the airport hired late last year to study and recommend concepts for a branding effort.

Among frequent fliers east of the Rockies, the firm found, many didn't know where the airport was located. Some said they thought it was in New York, Texas, Hawaii or even Vietnam. Most of those surveyed at the terminal — 80% of whom said they preferred to fly out of Burbank — would not be bothered by a name change.

The firm also interviewed airline and airport officials and local businesses, said Michael Fiore, a founder of Anyone Collective. He described the airport as having an "identity crisis," having had six name changes since 1930.

One airline official suggested that adding "Los Angeles" would distinguish the airfield as a "gateway to the L.A. basin," Fiore said. It also would follow a pattern of many airports that incorporate a local city's name, including Dallas Love Field, Chicago O'Hare International Airport and Chicago Rockford International Airport, which is more than 80 miles northwest of the city.

But Jack O'Neill, a Hope family representative, said they objected to removing the comedian's name. That fact was made clear to Anyone Collective, O'Neill said, but left out of the firm's presentation to the operations committee of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority.

Hope's "legacy is not fading," O'Neill said, adding: "Who's O'Hare?… Who or what is Love?" He asked the committee to consider Hollywood Burbank Bob Hope Airport instead.

Burbank Mayor Bob Frutos said he was upset that neither he nor other City Council members had been consulted about the potential name change.

The committee directed airport staff and the consultants to do more work, including interviewing Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena city council members, before bringing the item back at a later date.

chad.garland@latimes.com

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