Row in Britain over 'London' airport name change

A row erupted in Britain on Monday over the rebranding of Oxford Airport as London Oxford Airport - despite being 60 miles from the capital's centre.

Officials said they hoped the rebranding of the airport at Kidlington near Oxford in southeast England would raise its international profile and attract more passengers.

But heritage campaigners slammed the rebranding as insulting, saying historic Oxford city, with its prestigious university, did not need to be seen as an offshoot of the British capital.

They also said the new name was misleading, with the airport 60 miles (96 kilometres) from London.

"Good grief. Oxford is a great place in its own right and I find it insulting it is being considered just another offshoot of London," said Ros Weatherall, from the Oxford Civic Society.

"Trying to make Oxford seem like a suburb of London is very misleading.

"This is an insult to the major historical and cultural impact Oxford has had on the country."

The society's transport secretary David Townsend added: "It seems rather silly. Oxford isn't a London airport and we wouldn't want it to be.

"Anyone who wanted to go to London wouldn't want to end up in Kidlington.

Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce, which represents businesses in the area around Oxford, said it was a "good idea" which could benefit the whole region.

"Oxford and Oxfordshire is a place in its own right but you're linking tourism and business and it's an excellent business opportunity," said Claire Prosser, the chamber's policy executive.

The airport, owned by billionaire brothers David and Simon Reuben through holding company Aldersgate Investments, serves business customers, private plane owners and has a flying school.

James Dillon Godfray, marketing manager of the airport's website, told the Daily Telegraph he hoped the new name would bring in up to five more private business flights a day, on top of the existing daily total of 10.

Eight airports currently use the capital's name including London Stansted Airport, which is about 40 miles from the capital and London Luton Airport, 35 miles away.

AFP

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