Project:   Research name change for FlyVPS Airport

Problem:

When VPS was originally assigned, it was based on the name of the closest city, Valparaiso.  Destin Airport is assigned DTS, the “D” based on Destin as closest city.  This causes confusion with travelers and travel agents, as searching for flights to Destin primarily identify DTS.

Example:  (From Destin-Flordia-Vacation.com)

A word of warning!!  Sometimes it can get confusing when talking about Northwest Florida Regional Airport.  People often call it by several different names but they all mean the same place.  You may also hear people refer to this airport by any of the following commonly used names:

Valparaiso (what the identifier VPS comes from) Airport

Eglin (Eglin Air Force Base is co-located on the airfield) Airport

Fort Walton Beach Airport

To avoid confusion, it’s always a good idea to use the airport code VPS (or KVPS if you need a full 4 letter identifier) when trying to book a flight or get information about flights into the Destin Florida area.

Source:  http://www.destin-florida-vacation.com/destin-florida-airport.html

Possible Solutions:

  1. Change call sign:

The IATA is reluctant to change call signs that have appeared on navigational charts. A change is rare because an identifier becomes so well known to airline staff that changes are not normally permitted

        Examples:

Kansas City airport requested several times to change from MCI to KCI when they re-located their airport from inside city limits (the M was for Municipal) to outside Kansas City, but the request has never been granted.  Currently they are still MCI.  Since they could not change call letters, they changed the name of the airport from Municipal Airport to Kansas City Airport.

Sioux City IA, describing the SUX code as an “embarrassment”, petitioned the FAA to change the code in 1998 and again in 2002. Currently they are still SUX.

One of the world’s largest airports, JFK, is also one of the very few that was allowed to change call letters in 1963, following the assassination of President Kennedy.

Many US and International airports have re-located their airports, but still keep the original FAA call letters.

sources:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kansas_City_International_Airport

  http://www.skygod.com/asstd/abc.html 

2.  Change Airport Name:

Airport name change needs to be submitted to the Regional FAA office.

FAA approval for name change can take up to 6 months or longer, depending on the FAA publication cycle in relation to receiving the request.  The requests for name changes are usually granted.

Instructions for Submitting Name Change Request:

4. Airport Name

If this submission is used to change an airport name, please send the appropriate documentation to the Airport Safety Data Program. You will be required to submit one of the following:

Documentation in the form of minutes from a meeting

Documentation in the form of a resolution

An official letter or a marked up 5010 form signed by the Owner of the record (not the airport manager)

Form: https://nfdc.faa.gov/nfdcApps/actions/PublicAction?action=showNewAdcForm&adcRequestType=public

Submit to:

Orlando Airports District Office  [covering Florida]

5950 Hazeltine National Dr., Suite 400
Orlando, FL 32822-5024

Source: https://nfdc.faa.gov/xwiki/bin/view/NFDC/PublicADC

Current Search Examples:

Google map searches for Airports is obtained from official FAA publications/document updates, and all google maps searches currently show VPS as Northwest Florida Regional Airport.  There will be a delay before a new name change will be listed on Google Maps, depending on the approval and publications from the FAA, and the time for Google to update their maps.

1.  airports near destin fl

Google search Image 1

  Expanded Google map (note VPS location no longer shows in Valparaiso)

Google search Image 2

2.  airports near fort walton fl

Google search Image 3

Expanded Google map

Google search Image 4

Related Searches

fights to destin fl

FlyVPS Name Change Research

FlyVPS Name Change Research


The following chart shows results of searches for flights to Destin FL, and Fort Walton Beach FL.

Only TripAdvisor used VPS when Destin FL was selected as destination.  The others either did not have Destin FL as a selection, or used Pensacola as closest city to Destin.  Cheaptickets used DSI for Destin Airport and found no flights.

Fort Walton Beach FL was an allowed selection on all websites, and most showed VPS flights.  Some also showed Pensacola, whose flight prices were cheaper than VPS.

Also noted was that the flight information was sometimes different if site was accessed via a link from another site, such as Cheapflights, rather than direct access.

All these sites shared a common requirement, of selecting the city/airport from drop-down menus.  All of these site menus had Fort Walton or Fort Walton Beach FL as a selection.  Most  of the site menus did not have Destin, FL. as a selection.


Online Website

Travel to Destin Fl

Travel to Fort Walton Beach Fl

Tripadvisors: Shows flight information for Fort Shows flight information for Fort
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ Walton, FL VPS Walton, FL VPS
Cheap Tickets: Shows Destin airport as DSI and Shows flight information for Fort
http://www.cheaptickets.com/ has no flights available Walton, FL VPS
Priceline: Shows Flights to Pensacola only Shows flights to Pensacola and to
http://www.priceline.com/ VPS
Orbitz: http://www.orbitz.com/ Either shows flights to Pensacola Shows flights to VPS, however
http://www.orbitz.com/ or shows no flights to Destin will also sometimes show Pensacola
Expedia: Shows Flights to Pensacola only Shows flight information for Fort
http://www.expedia.com/ Walton, FL VPS
 
Hotwire: Does not have Destin FL as Shows flight information for Fort
http://www.hotwire.com/ selection Walton, FL VPS
Travelocity Does not have Destin FL as Shows flight information for Fort
http://www.travelocity.com/ selection Walton, FL VPS

Recommendations:

  • Leave call sign as VPS
  • Change name of airport to FlyVPS Fort Walton Beach – Destin Florida

Recommendation is to put Fort Walton Beach first to minimize the projected confusion of two airports starting with the name Destin.  Google searches for Fort Walton or Fort Walton Beach were much more likely to bring up VPS airport flight information.  (Note:  It is possible that the FAA will not approve a second Destin Airport name)

  • Have tagline/banner on webite saying “Serving Communites of Valparaiso, Fort Walton Beach, & Destin Florida”
  • Also include Northwest Florida Regional Airport in tagline/banner until name change has officially been published by FAA
  • Use search tags VPS, Valparaiso, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Northwest Florida Regional Airport, Florida Emerald Coast. Fort Walton, Elgin Air Force Base
  • Advise online tickets sellers of name change