Name game: 29 airports, terminals named after eminent persons
As many as 29 airports and terminals in the country have been named after eminent personalities and dignitaries, with the latest one being the Shaheed Bhagat Singh international airport in Chandigarh.
There are a total of 24 airports and 5 terminals that are named after eminent personalities/ dignitaries, according to a list received by PTI through an RTI application.
However, the list does not include details about the recently renamed Chandigarh airport. On September 28, Chandigarh international airport was renamed as Shaheed Bhagat Singh International Airport.
The renaming happened a day before the 115th birth anniversary of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh.
As per the list, four airports are named after three former prime ministers. They are Indira Gandhi International Airport in the national capital, Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Hyderabad in Telangana, Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport at Varanasi and Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
Various airports are also named after former chief ministers, including Biju Patnaik Airport at Bhubaneswar in Odisha.
The list also includes Kangra airport, Gaggal and Kullu-Manali airport, Bhuntar, both of which are in Himachal Pradesh. However, it was not clear after which eminent personalities/ dignitaries these two airports were named.
Besides, there are five airport terminals named after eminent personalities and dignitaries. These include Anna international terminal and Kamraj domestic terminal in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, and two N T Rama Rao terminals at airports in Hyderabad in Telangana, as per the list.
Currently, there are 131 operational airports in the country, including 29 international and 92 domestic airports. There are 10 customs airports as well. There are also 8 heliports and 2 waterdromes, as per official data.
An elaborate process is followed in naming and renaming of airports, and the final approval has to come from the Union Cabinet.
Generally, airports are known by the name of the city where they are located. In some cases, a specific name is proposed by the respective state government supported by a resolution passed in the state legislative assembly concerned. The same is then sent to the Union Cabinet for the final approval.
With the good growth potential of the country's civil aviation sector, the government aims to have a total of 220 airports by 2030.