Thursday, 11 April 2013

'It would strike fear into the heart of our European rivals': Boris calls for next major airport to be named after Baroness Thatcher

Boris Johnson last night called for an airport to be named in honour of Baroness Thatcher.

The Mayor of London has already said he wants there to be a statue erected in the capital to honour Lady Thatcher in the ‘heart of the nation’.

But Mr Johnson would also like to see any future airport - likely to be built to create new capacity in the south - named after Britain’s longest-serving Prime Minister in over a century.

He said: ‘Mega airports are springing up all over the continent that are stealing British trade and are a threat to our economy.

‘It is why this country so desperately needs a new four runway hub airport and I can think of no name that would strike greater fear into the heart of our European rivals than Margaret Thatcher International Airport.’

The naming of airports after celebrated public figures is a well-established means by which to create a permanent and lasting tribute.

Paris has an airport named after former president Charles de Gaulle, Liverpool has John Lennon, New York has John F Kennedy and Belfast has George Best, to name but a few.

The Mayor is a supporter of plans to build a new international airport in the Thames Estuary.

The airport, which has been nicknamed Boris Island, would be built on an artificial island made of landfill.

It would become Britain’s main international hub, replacing Heathrow, handling 300,000 passengers a day.

However, Conservative MP Conor Burns said he thought that Lady Thatcher would be ‘appalled’ at the idea of having an airport named after her. He said 'It's a lovely, touching idea but knowing Margaret as I knew her, I think she'd hate it'.
Meanwhile, a Facebook campaign group calling for Heathrow Airport to be renamed as Margaret Thatcher Airport was created online and a petition lodged with Number 10.

The group’s mission statement said: ‘Heathrow Airport should henceforth be known in the United Kingdom and around The World as Margaret Thatcher Airport.
'This, among other measures should act as a fitting and lasting tribute to Margaret Thatcher.’

One online user wrote: ‘Why not rename LHR to Margaret Thatcher Airport, I think it’s a good idea.
'So many other airports around the world have been renamed in honour and memory of the person whether they were supported or not. Go for it!’
'Parliament should not have been recalled, the funeral should be kept low key (or better still private). Heathrow (or any other airport) should not be renamed after her!’

Prime Minister David Cameron is considering what would be the best memorial for the Baroness, including plans to rename the capital of the Falkland Islands from Port Stanley to Port Margaret.

A spokesman for Mr Cameron said: ‘The Prime Minister thinks it’s a good idea to think of how in due course Lady Thatcher could be commemorated.'

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