So long El Monte. Hello San Gabriel Valley.
By unanimous vote, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution Tuesday changing the name of El Monte Airport to San Gabriel Valley Airport.
The name change is an effort to market the county-owned general aviation airport, located along Santa Anita Avenue, to a broader audience and drum up more business, county officials said.
The new name is part of a re-branding campaign aimed at increasing the number of takeoffs and landings and grow the rentals of hangar space, explained Edel Vizcarra, planning deputy for Supervisor Michael Antonovich.
“Aviation uses are declining. It is not the sport or hobby it once was. Anything we can do may help,” Vizcarra said.
Non-aviation people know the airport for its popular restaurant, Annia’s Kitchen, where people can eat omelettes and munch on onion rings while watching small planes depart and arrive.
The airport does not accept jets and is one of five airports owned by the county. The name change was supported by the Los Angeles County Aviation Commission in October 2013.
The exact cost of changing the name on signs and in correspondence is “nominal,” according to the resolution.
The San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership’s Legislative Action Committee voted for the name “San Gabriel Valley Airport at El Monte,” thinking people need to know where an airport is located, said Cynthia Kurtz, president and CEO.
Still, Kurtz said more business leaders may consider flying in or out of San Gabriel Valley Airport instead of LAX or Ontario. She said many CEOs are buying private planes for short, business travel trips and that using small airports is more convenient.
“Branding it as a regional airport will be helpful in the long-run,” Kurtz said.
The airport was built in 1936, said Department of Public Works Aviation Division Chief Richard Smith. Los Angeles County bought the airport in 1969 for $3 million.
El Monte City Hall was aware the official name-change was coming. Mayor Andre Quintero said the airport does not bring in much tax revenue to the city. “To the extent we can redirect more investment into our community will be good,” he said.