Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What constitutes an "international airport?"

The sign greeting air travelers in the hub city of the South Plains proudly proclaims its name: Lubbock Preston Smith INTERNATIONAL Airport.

Ok, so the all caps version of "international" was my added emphasis.

But, it was that word that sparked an interesting discussion around this little corner of heaven recently.

Just what DOES an airport have to do or have to qualify as an "international" airport?

LPSIA, as I fondly abbreviate it, has NO international flights. But, it is not alone. Other similarly lacking airports claim the name, apparently as a reflection of their future plans and ambitions. (i.e. Gary/Chicago International Airport in Indiana)

Still other airports that one would think had international flights, do not: London's Heathrow, Detroit's Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, and (my favorite) George Bush Intercontinental.

Another presidential namesake, Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan, claims the status as a result of part-time customs/immigration staff on site.

I guess, all of this goes to show that an airport can pretty much name itself whatever it wants--even after some obscure Texas governor. Truth in advertising rules need not apply!

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