Trump International? What would it take for a U.S. airport to be named after President Trump?

Dec 23, 2020

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Ronkonkoma, N.Y.: President Donald Trump’s personal jet is parked on the tarmac at Long Island MacArthur Airport on October 21, 2018, in Ronkonkoma, New York, where the Boeing 757 has been undergoing maintenance since the end of last month. (Photo by Stefanie Dazio/Newsday RM via Getty Images)

 

He already had an airline, so is an airport next?

As he mulls life after the White House, President Trump has reportedly asked aides about the possibility of a getting a major American airport named after him. The Daily Beast was first to report the news that the president has been inquiring about the process of naming airports including asking advisors what the process entails. The president, however, is reportedly interested not in just any airport. Instead, he’s wants to make sure it’s not one with “crumbling infrastructure” or a bad reputation, according to the report.

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He may be limited to red state airports. The feds don’t have oversight of airports except for Washington D.C., so he will have to find a local government willing to entertain the notion. That will likely be in a conservative part of the country.

Daily Beast White House Reporter Asawin Suebsaeng wrote:

“Trump, very likely, will have a number of allied state and national politicians eager to demonstrate their devotion to him with an airport-naming push. But the process isn’t supposed to come until after he leaves office. The fact that it’s on his mind now, amid an exploding coronavirus crisis and accompanying economic problems, demonstrates how far his attention can drift even during weighty and difficult moments.”

The state that voted for President Trump with the biggest margin was Wyoming. Perhaps Cheyenne (CYS) or Casper, Wyoming (CPR) might be amenable. Jackson Hole is also an option though Teton County was one of the few in Wyoming to vote for President-elect Biden (and it wasn’t close).

Jackson Hole Airport 2020. (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

 

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Lots of presidents have received the honor of getting airports named for them including Theodore Roosevelt in Dickinson, North Dakota (DIK), Dwight Eisenhower in Wichita, Kansas (ICT), John Kennedy in New York (JFK), George H.W. Bush in Houston (IAH), and George Washington (he shares the honor with Ronald Reagan) at Virginia’s Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).

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President Trump likely is not amused by one of the latest airports to be named for a former president — The Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport (LIT) in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The soon-to-be-ex-president may have his eye on something more grand, like a large, international airport. Indeed, some of the most famous airports in the world have been named for former leaders.

Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) is among the biggest airports in the world. De Gaulle helped lead the resistance to the Nazi occupation of France, and later became France’s prime minister and was elected twice to the presidency. Or there’s the Montréal–Trudeau International Airport (YUL) in Canada. That airport was named for the 15th prime minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau (He’s also the father of Canada’s current prime minister).

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There’s also the Nelson Mandela International Airport in Cape Verde (RAI) named for Nelson Mandela who helped end apartheid in South Africa and later went on to become president of that country.

Of course, the current occupant of the White House may not have quite the same resume, but he certainly has a long-time love of the airline industry.

Famously, Trump bought an airline in the 1980’s.

Donald Trump poses with Frank Lorenzo, owner of Eastern Air Lines Shuttle, and a model of the Trump jetliner. October 12, 1988. (Photo by Michael Schwartz/New York Post Archives /(c) NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images)

 

In 1989, then businessman Donald Trump bought the struggling Eastern Air Lines Shuttle in a deal valued at $365 million. The carrier served Boston, New York and Washington and Trump promptly renamed it the “Trump Shuttle,” relaunching it with a ton of pomp and circumstance. He actually refurbished each plane to get gold fixtures and plush carpeting at a cost of a million dollars a plane. Eventually, he lost his initial $20 million investment, and much more. The New York Times reported when he turned the operation over to USAir in 1991, he lost at least $100 million dollars he’d personally guaranteed.

Hopefully, any airport named for the president won’t meet the same fate.

President Trump hasn’t always gotten it right when it comes to airports. Back on the Fourth of July of 2019, he gave a speech where he said, “The Continental Army suffered a bitter winter of Valley Forge.. .. found glory across the waters of the Delaware and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown. Our army manned the [unclear]. It rammed the ramparts. It took over the airports. It did everything it had to do.”

Obviously, there were no airports during the Revolutionary War (or the War of 1812 for that matter which he also referenced). The president later said the teleprompter malfunctioned.

Featured image from September 21, 2017 of Donald Trump’s Boeing 757 parked at LaGuardia Airport in New York by Robert Alexander/Getty Images.

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