In a quick move, perhaps reflecting current political compulsions, the central Government has cleared a proposal to rename the Lucknow airport as the Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport. Lucknow is the capital of the State of Uttar Pradesh, which is also India's most populous.
Chaudhary Charan Singh was the seventh prime minister of the country. He was also an eminent freedom fighter and chief minister of the old, undivided Uttar Pradesh. He is also the parent of Ajit Singh, leader of the Rashtriya Lok Dal, currently being wooed by various factions within the parliament for its support in the upcoming vote of confidence being sought by the UPA government.
The Lucknow airport, managed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), has a terminal building with a capacity to handle 500 passengers. The existing runway at Lucknow airport can handle A300 class aircraft. Apart from domestic flights, a limited number of international operations are also conducted from the airport.
A Government statement points out that though the normal practice with the AAI has been to retain the name of the city for its airport, as it is helpful for tourists, some airports in important cities, however, have been named after eminent personalities hailing from the region.
Some examples include the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport at Ahmedabad, Gujarat, the Jai Prakash Narayan Airport at Patna, the Biju Patnaik Airport at Bhubaneshwar, Orissa and the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi Airport at Guwahati, Assam.
In this case the government has acted on requests made by the State government of Uttar Pradesh in the past.