A name change for the state’s busiest airport officially took effect on Jan. 1, when Charleston’s Yeager Airport became West Virginia International Yeager Airport.
The new name, unanimously approved by the airport’s governing board last summer, is intended to serve as a marketing tool in attracting new air service and spurring economic development. The rebranded name also highlights the airport’s statewide impact on travel and commerce.
“We have met with air service consultants who said this name addition would help attract new service,” airport director Nick Keller said at the time the name-change was approved.
“As our state’s largest airport, Yeager is important to not just Charleston, but the entire state of West Virginia,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., soon after the name was approved.
The “international” portion of the new name was predicated on the construction of a new U.S. Customs and Border Patrol building adjacent to the the Charleston airport’s general aviation terminal, making it possible for international flights to bypass other ports of entry and land directly at CRW.
While the Customs building itself is virtually complete, supply chain issues have delayed the installation of specialized screening gear needed to make it operational.
Although the airport lacks nonstop commercial air service to foreign destinations, the presence of a Customs building and staff would make such flights possible in the future. Meanwhile, the Customs operation will focus on private and military aircraft carrying up to 20 people on international flights, and inspecting direct air cargo flights from overseas locations.
Including an “international” designation in an airport’s name does not require that airport to provide direct commercial passenger flights to foreign destinations, according to airport officials. The designation does require “international” airports to have Customs facilities.
Prior to the name change, the Charleston airport was one of 31 commercial airports without a city, state or region included in its name, and West Virginia was one of only five states without an international airport.
New signage reflecting the name change will be installed once a logo has been selected, according to airport officials.
The fact that the name change had taken effect was announced Jan. 1 on the airport’s social media sites, producing nearly 200 comments on West Virginia International Yeager Airport’s Facebook page. Responses to the name change were mixed, with a number of those favoring the new name suggesting they would have preferred West Virginia Yeager International Airport over the name that was selected.