According to research compiled by flight comparison site Neflights, there 352 airports globally identified as having adopted eponyms – i.e. named after people.
For example, Pisa’s Galileo Airport, New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport. These all have something in common – they’re all named after men.
Only 15 are named exclusively after women – that’s a measly 4.3 per cent. Even Hillary Clinton shares the honour with her husband, Bill Clinton.
Turns out that the US has three airports named after women, more than any other country. Do note, that only two of these are exclusively named after women (the third being the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport).
So what makes a woman eligible for this accolade?
Being a queen increases your chances of getting an airport named after you – six out of the 16 women to have airports named after them are from royalty (38%).
Having a political career is an advantage. On every major continent, except Australasia, politicians have the most airports named after them. Along with aviation, it’s the second most popular field for women – three out of the 16 women who have had airports named after them have had a career in politics.
European airports like artists. The Arts is the second most popular field in Europe for airport naming conventions – 20 per cent of eponymous airports on the continent is named after painters, poets, musicians and the like (however, no European airports are named after women).
Andrew Shelton, Managing Director at Netflights, said:
As well as being a source of civic pride and examples of engineering marvels, airports are also symbolic of human achievement. Rightly so, airport owners have chosen to name their facilities after people of note to celebrate their lives – from musicians to politicians.
“But we think the fact that so few of them recognise the achievements of women – especially those who have contributed to the field of aviation – needs to be rectified. Airports should be ‘fairports’ – something that belongs to everyone, and where everyone feels equal.
Which women have airports named after them?