Liverpool honours famous son by naming airport after John Lennon

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The Independent Online

John Lennon, one of Liverpool's most revered sons, is to be honoured by the city on Monday when it renames its airport after him.

Lennon will join the likes of John F Kennedy, Fiorello LaGuardia and Charles de Gaulle in giving his name to an airport, but his memory will be further enhanced by the use of one of his lyrics as the Liverpool terminal's new slogan.

From now on, visitors approaching the airport will see the logo "Above us only sky", from the song "Imagine".

Yoko Ono, Lennon's widow, is due to fly to Liverpool to unveil the new name and logo on Monday. She said she was more than happy to give her approval to the idea.

"I was honoured and delighted when I first heard of the proposal to name the airport in Liverpool after John," she said. "As a gateway to the region it will be seen by millions of passengers and is a fitting tribute to my late husband. I am proud to be celebrating one of Liverpool's greatest men."

The chairman of the airport, Robert Hough, said the name would raise the airport's profile at a time when it was expanding rapidly.

Last month Liverpool was named the world's fastest- growing airport with two million passengers passing through it in the year.

"Throughout the world, John Lennon is synonymous with Liverpool," Mr Hough said. "He is an integral part of Merseyside's heritage and the new name places the airport firmly on the international map."

Liverpool airport opened in 1934 and was immortalised on film when Beatles fans mobbed them as they stepped on to its runway on their return from America in 1964. It moved to its current site in 1984.

A £32.5m new terminal development is due to open in the spring next year, with a statue of Lennon by the local sculptor Tom Murphy on display there.

The city already trades heavily on the Beatles' name, drawing £20m a year income from tourist visits to the Beatles museum and other sites of interest, such as The Cavern where they used to play.

Lennon's son Julian expressed delight at the decision. He said: "I am very happy to see that Liverpool has taken the opportunity to remember one of its most famous citizens in a way that reaches millions of people.

"It seems that the name John Lennon will be around for a very long time – one way or another," he added.