“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. We have landed at Oprah Winfrey International Airport where the local time is 6:30pm and the temperature is….”
Wait…did the flight attendant just say “Oprah Winfrey International Airport?”
That is the message that Metro Councilwoman Sharon Hurt is lobbying to hear.
YOU GET A FLIGHT TO OPRAH…AND YOU GET A FLIGHT TO OPRAH…AND YOU…
In early November, Councilwoman Hurt wrote letters to the Nashville Airport Authority board chairman, Dexter Samuels, and Nashville Mayor David Briley, with the proposal of renaming Nashville’s Berry Field (IATA: BNA) for the media mogul.
Mayor Briley spokesman, Thomas Mulgrew, said the mayor had no comment on the name change proposal and encouraged Hurt to take her proposal directly to the airport authority.
The Board Chairman, however, has been a little more outspoken. Dexter stated in a recent letter “Both the president/CEO of the authority and I agree that Ms. Winfrey’s achievements and accolades are too numerous to recite, however, renaming the airport after Ms. Winfrey does not meet the criteria established by the (airport authority).”
ROADBLOCKS – WHAT ARE THE CRITERIA?
There is, currently, a major roadblock that stands in the way of Oprah having an airport named in her honor.
The current Airport Authority policy states that an airport name change could only happen if the honoree has made a “substantial contribution” to BNA or the field of aviation AND the potential honoree must also have been deceased for at least two years for the change to be made.
The Councilwoman countered this response with many instances where city-owned facilities had been renamed for living individuals at the time the name change took place, including the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, the Karl F. Dean Grand Ballroom inside Music City Center and the Richard Fulton Campus, named several years ago for the former Nashville mayor that died last month.
OPRAH’S NASHVILLE BACKGROUND
If you are curious of the connection between Oprah and Nashville, Oprah is a graduate of Tennessee State University, an historically black college and university (HBCU), and began her media career in Nashville.
Although, it doesn’t look like we’ll be flying into Oprah International anytime soon, I don’t think we have heard the last of this proposal.
Nashville International Airport is on the cusp of big things. The airport is currently in the middle of a multi-billion dollar renovation. Last year, it was also named the fastest growing airport of its size, and announced daily, nonstop, transatlantic service between Nashville and London (LHR) on British Airways.
I spent many years living in Nashville so I am excited to see their growth.
Should BNA be renamed to Oprah Winfrey Airport? Do you think the councilwoman has provided a valid argument for the name change?