It is a common tradition worldwide to name an airport after a local hero. Sometimes, those local heroes are aviation fans or aviators themselves. Here’s a list of our top five airports named after aviators or people who loved aviation.
Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport – Athens, Greece
There is a bit of aviation history behind the naming of the largest airport in Greece which serves the capital of Athens. Eleftherios Venizelos was a politician from Crete who rose up against the Ottoman Empire and then ended up as the Prime Minister of Greece. Venizelos founded the Ministry of Aviation, and he was the first to organize the political aviation in Greece. The airport opened in 2001, replacing the 60-year-old national airport called Elliniko.
Amelia Earhart Memorial Airport – Atchison, Kansas
Amelia Earhart Memorial Airport is located in the aviation pioneer’s hometown of Atchison, Kansas. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Her plane disappeared during a solo flight across the globe in 1937. Her namesake airport is managed by pilots, for pilots. The airport is located just outside the major airspace of Kansas City International Airport
Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Chicago, Illinois – Chicago, Illinois
Chicago O’Hare airport bears the name of Edward O’Hare, a wartime aviator. O’Hare was the first to become a Navy flying ace. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in World War II when he shot down a bomber approaching an aircraft carrier. His aircraft was lost but his city wanted to remember him in a special way. In 1949, Orchard Depot Airport was named Chicago O’Hare International Airport. At the airport, you can find a replica of O’Hare’s Grumman F4F-3 on display.
Lambert-St. Louis International Airport – St. Louis, Missouri
The Lambert-St. Louis International Airport stands thanks to Albert Bond Lambert, a former major in the U.S. Army. He earned his pilot’s license in 1911 after he learned to fly with the Wright Brothers. The airport is named after Lambert in honor of the work he did to assist in making St. Louis a major player in the aerospace industry.
Wisconsin’s Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Wisconsin’s Milwaukee airport was named after Brigadier General William “Billy” Mitchell. He was an accomplished, outspoken and controversial pioneer in American military aviation. A model of Mitchell’s his DH-4 Osprey aircraft is on display in the Mitchell Gallery of Flight, the airport’s free, on-site museum.
Honorable Mention: Charles M. Schulz, Sonoma County Airport – Santa Rosa, California
If you ever fly to California’s beautiful wine country you’ll see that Snoopy flies again! The Charles M. Schulz, Sonoma County Airport is named after the one of the most influential cartoonists of all time. The World War I Flying Ace is one of the many fantasy identities that his creation Snoopy adopted during the fifty year run of the Peanuts comic strip. The airport is located in Santa Rosa, California and is perfect for scheduling private jet charter flights.