Airports to be named only after cities, mulls Ministry

Raj Kamal Rao

Raju_aviationUnion Ministry of Civil Aviation is considering a naming policy for the airports across the country. The policy is scheduled to be announced by minister for Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju after cabinet’s approval by January end. As per the proposal, airports in India will now be named only after their City’s name.

Several airports across the country are named after prominent political or social personalities. This proposal, however, will not be applicable on the existing airports.

Speaking to RSTV, Ajit Dubey former ED, Airport Authority of India, welcomed the Centre’s move saying, “naming policy will take out whims and fancies of political parties” and allow people to remember and identify the Airport with city.

Surinder, Managing Director of TMI Academy of Travel Tourism and Aviation Studies told us that “it makes sense for travellers and people remember cities…. It is only for our satisfaction we name these airports after leaders, but it makes no sense for travellers, and we change names often,” she added.

One may wonder, what’s in the name! But, when it comes to naming airports, it’s almost a political battle for political parties in India. Naming or renaming of airports has resulted in tussle inside and outside parliament.

delhiairportThe controversy over naming airports began in 2014 when Narendra Modi government renamed the domestic airport at Hyderabad by removing late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s and named it after NT Rama Rao, former Chief Minister and founding president of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), a long-time BJP ally in the state.

The move led to Congress party and other opposition parties raising protest on the floor of the Upper house, resulting in repeated adjournments on the very issue. The issue was even raised in Zero Hour and deputy leader of Congress, Anand Sharma termed the move as “arbitrary” and said it is not “acceptable”.

In Haryana last year, Manohar Lal Khattar government’s proposed to change Chandigarh airport name after RSS ideologue Mangal Sen dropping an earlier proposal to name it after Bhagat singh.

As per the official data, of 21 international airports in India, many of them are named after popular leaders. International Airport in Delhi is named after late PM Indira Gandhi, at Patna after socialist leader JP Narayan, Guwahati is named after Lokpriya Gopinath Bordolio, Ahmadabad airport after Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Raja Bhoj Airport in Bhopal and the list goes on.

Ajit Dubey says that naming airports after popular personalities had started in 1980’s and that practice still continues based on demand and wisdom of ruling party.