The idea of using a famous person’s name for an airport is not a new one. New York’s LaGuardia Airport is named after the famous mayor of New York Fiorello LaGuardia (1934-1945). Of course one of New York’s other airports is John F. Kennedy International Airport and was so named in 1963 having originally been called Idlewild. Another American President has been so honoured is Ronald Reagan whose name appends Washington’s National Airport. How long before Little Rock’s airport becomes Bill Clinton International?
Columbus Ohio’s Rickenbacker International Airport is not named after the guitar maker but Eddie Rickenbacker the First World War fighter ace. Oklahoma’s Will Rogers World Airport is named for the legendary cowboy and comedian. Another with a political connection is Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport in honour of the Nevada senator Pat McCarran. A favourite is New Orleans’s airport, which is named Louis Armstrong International Airport.
In Canada they have got in on the act with Montreal naming their airport Trudeau International after the former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre. Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport is named after the 14th Canadian Prime Minister. What price Thatcher International or Blairport? It’s a shame that there is not an airport in Scotland close to the Perth and Kinross village of Blairingone.
In Britain we have been slower off the mark but Liverpool has honoured one of its favoured sons in naming their airport John Lennon. There appears to be no truth in the story that in alternate years it will be named Paul McCartney Airport - that was Yesterday’s rumour. Perhaps most bizarre is Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield which is located at the former RAF base of Finningley…why? The French are less keen on the idea but did honour their former President when they named one of the Paris airports, Charles de Gaulle
Belfast city Airport is one of the most recent re-namings. It was named after footballer George Best at a ceremony in May 2006. This followed on an earlier suggestion by former snooker star Alex Higgins who wanted the l, the f and the a removed from the city’s name…..BEST is what the entire city would have become but he couldn’t get enough support for the idea.