County Executive Adam Bello Signs Legislation To Rename Greater Rochester International Airport After Frederick Douglass

August 24th, 2020

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View Letter to FAA (PDF)

First step in a three to six month name-change process

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello is excited to announce that he has officially signed legislation to change the name of the Greater Rochester International Airport to the Frederick Douglass – Greater Rochester International Airport. While the renaming is not yet official, this is the first step in a three to six month process to receive Federal Aviation Administration approval.

"Frederick Douglass holds a special place in the history of our community and our nation, and is one of the most prominent people to ever call Monroe County 'home'. I am excited that we have taken the first step in this process as we seek to rebrand our airport, which serves as a gateway to our community for millions of visitors and travelers every year," said County Executive Adam Bello. "I appreciate the input of countless Monroe County residents, whose support and dialogue has been an important part of this process. I also want to thank our federal delegation – Senator Chuck Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Joe Morelle – for their continued advocacy with the FAA and for their support of this worthwhile initiative.

Before the airport can officially become the Frederick Douglass – Greater Rochester International Airport, the airport administration will need to work with the FAA to update official documents and certifications. This process includes:

  • Updating ROC Airport Certification Manual (FAA approved document)
  • Changes made to ROC Vector and Air Traffic Control Maps
  • Changes made to the FAA Grant System
  • Changes to the FAA Form 5010 for Public Use Airports
  • Legal review of airport leases to determine if name changes need to occur
  • FAA to review and approve new Airport Operating Certificate

As the official review and approval process begins, Senator Chuck Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Joe Morelle have written a joint letter to the FAA to express their support for this proposal.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said, "For decades, Frederick Douglass called Rochester home as he worked tirelessly for freedom, human rights and fulfillment of the American proclamation that all people are created equal. Over a century after his passing, his work and influence continue to guide us today and his impact is woven into the fabric of the Rochester community. It's fitting that the first thing people will know when they land in Rochester is a reminder of one of its greatest residents and the legacy he inspired. I commend Monroe County on their decision and I am proud to fully support this effort to further honor one of America's greatest humanitarian and civil rights heroes."

"I commend County Executive Bello for signing this important legislation to rename Rochester's airport in tribute to Frederick Douglass," said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. "Douglass was a truly influential leader in the fight for human and civil rights and his legacy is deeply treasured across New York and our nation. This effort to honor his legacy will inspire all travelers who come through Rochester and I will continue to work with the FAA to ensure this initiative moves forward."

Congressman Joe Morelle said, "Frederick Douglass is an iconic part of Rochester's history— and the ideals he championed remain an essential part of our community fabric. Renaming our airport in his honor is a fitting tribute to a true hometown hero, and a clear statement of our values to all who visit Rochester. I'm grateful to Monroe County for their action to further cement the legacy of Frederick Douglass and inspire us all to continue his tireless pursuit of equality for every American."

The legislation also authorizes the placement of educational information and materials throughout the airport to allow visitors and travelers to learn about the life, legacy and impact of Frederick Douglass. Additionally, County Executive Bello and the airport administration have started to review new signage designs and promotional materials in anticipation of receiving final FAA approval.