Louisville names airport after Muhammad Ali

The name change of Louisville international airport will celebrate the internationally-renowned boxer and help increase the city’s tourism

Louisville international airport will be renamed to Louisville Muhammad Ali international airport, following a vote taken by the board of the Louisville Regional Airport Authority on Wednesday.

“Muhammad became one of the most well-known people to ever walk the Earth and has left a legacy of humanitarianism and athleticism that has inspired billions of people,” said the Kentucky city’s mayor, Greg Fischer.

The name change is to celebrate the successes of the Louisville-born. “Muhammad Ali belonged to the world, but he only had one hometown, and fortunately, that is our great city of Louisville,” Fischer said.

Ali was an Olympic gold medalist and three-time heavyweight boxing champion  — Scott Woodham Photography / Shutterstock Louisville names airport after Muhammad Ali
Ali was an Olympic gold medalist and three-time heavyweight boxing champion — Scott Woodham Photography / Shutterstock

Ali, who died in 2016, was an Olympic gold medalist and three-time heavyweight boxing champion. He was also named Sportsman of the 20th Century by Sports Illustrated.

Apart from being an acclaimed sportsman, Ali became famous for his humanitarian work and activism. In 2005, he was awarded the Medal of Freedom by the then-president George W Bush.

According to Fischer, Ali has much higher name recognition than the city of Louisville itself.

The city hopes adding Ali's name to the airport will increase tourism — Shutterstock
The city hopes adding Ali’s name to the airport will increase tourism — Shutterstock

“Adding Muhammad Ali’s name to the Louisville international airport reminds travellers from around the world that our city is a place to have a touchpoint with one of the most recognised icons of all time,” said Louisville Tourism CEO Karen Williams.

The local destination authority said that the name change is expected to help increase the city’s tourism.

Even after changing the name, the airport will continue using the current code SDF.