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Explained: Naming of airports in India and other Asian countries

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Explained: Naming of airports in India and other Asian countries


The recent controversy of naming the Navi Mumbai airport after Bal Thackeray has shifted the spotlight on airport names. While there is no accepted convention, It turns out most major Asian airports are named after places rather than personalities. Some like Bangkok prefer an aspirational 'city of gold' or Suvarnabhumi.

Explained: Naming of airports in India and other Asian countries
Many airports in India have been named after influential personalities. They rarely follow a generic nomenclature. The country’s largest and busiest airport in the national capital is named after former prime minister Indira Gandhi. The Mumbai airport, which comes next in the list in terms of size and footfall, is named after Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who is considered among the greatest rulers in the country.
Navi Mumbai and its neighbouring districts of Thane, Raigad and Palghar have been witnessing massive protests in the last few days over the naming of the upcoming Navi Mumbai international airport after Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray. The protesting locals want the new airport to be named after their hero D.B. Patil.
Thackeray founded the right-wing organisation, Shiv Sena, in 1966. He is seen as one of the most influential figures in the history of modern Maharashtra. His son Uddhav is the incumbent chief minister of the state and also the chief of the Shiv Sena.
Patil was a former legislator and is someone who is held in high regard in that region. He was an important part of the Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) and led multiple protests for safeguarding the interests of farmers and landowners in Panvel in 1970-80. He led a major protest in 1984, after which the Maharashtra government was bound to introduce the 12.5 percent developed land scheme which is applicable across the state even now. He was a five-time MLA from Panvel and also represented Kolaba as MP twice.
Other Indian airports
Other key airports which are named after renowned personalities are Kolkata and Bengaluru. The Kolkata airport is named after revolutionary Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and the one in the country’s startup capital is named after its erstwhile ruler Kempe Gowda.
But not all airports in India are named after individuals. Chennai Airport takes its name from the capital city of Tamil Nadu. Other similar airports are Goa, Pune, and Jammu, among others.
International airports in Asia
Interestingly, some of the major airports in other Asian countries are named after places and not people. Beijing Airport, which is situated in the capital of the most populous Asian country, China, is not named after anyone and bears the name of the city. The same can be said about Tokyo (Japan), Hong Kong, Incheon International Airport (South Korea). The key airports that do not bear the name of just the city are the ones in Indonesia and Bangkok. The Soekarno–Hatta International Airport in Jakarta is named after the first president and vice president of Indonesia, Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta, respectively. The Bangkok airport is officially named Suvarnabhumi Airport, which means ‘land of gold’ in Sanskrit.
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