India May Soon Rename Its Airports So Tourists Can Easily Identify Them

Feb 15, 2017

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At some point you’ve probably flown into John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York (JFK). Or Ronald Reagan National in Washington D.C. (DCA). Or even Bob Hope Airport, more commonly known as Burbank (BUR). But have you ever flown to Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM) in Mumbai?

If a proposal currently under consideration in India becomes official policy, you might never make it to Shivaji, or Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) in Delhi or any other airport in the country named after a person. That’s because according to the Indian Express, the government is deliberating whether to rename all existing airports in the country — as well as future airports — after cities instead of personalities.

The problem with naming airports after people appears to be twofold. First, airports in India are sometimes co-owned by separate state authorities and entities who can’t agree on which person should receive the honor of having an airport named after him or her. But a second issue is that the Indian civil aviation ministry believes naming airports after historical Indian figures is inconveniencing foreign tourists who may not be familiar with the names.

Under the proposal, the airports would be named after cities, but the terminals within the airports could still be named after “eminent personalities,” similar to how the Tom Bradley International Terminal in Los Angeles (LAX) is named after the city’s former mayor, who was a driving force behind the airport’s expansion in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Of course, India is far from the only country currently naming airports after famous people. One can easily find numerous examples beyond our own US airports, such as Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino International Airport (FCO) in Rome or Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) in France. Still, while no final decision has been made, the Indian Union Cabinet is expected to settle on a policy in the near future.

So if you’re hoping to fly through Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU) one day, you’d better make it soon. Otherwise you might just find yourself at plain old Kolkata International.

H/T: Travel + Leisure

Featured image of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport courtesy of Mint/Getty Images.

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