The 10 airports with the strangest names

Most airports are named after the place they're sited, or a local dignitary. But there are some more unusual and debatable choices for names out there …

El Prat, Barcelona

While to the English speaker, Spain's second-busiest airport might seem like it's named after someone who accidentally puts salt in their coffee or parks blocking a driveway, the real explanation is much more mundane. The name comes from El Prat de Llobregat, the neighbouring town. An "el prat" in Catalan simply means "the field".

Mafia Airport, Tanzania

Mafia: Devastatingly, run by the mob.

Mafia: not as sinister as it might sound to outsiders. Photo: Wikipedia Commons

No, this one isn't owned by hapless Italian mobsters who are not exactly subtle about the operation. It just happens to be on an Indian Ocean island called Mafia Island. Which isn't run by the mob either. Mafia is beginning to get itself on the tourist radar, though – largely through the diving scene. But, at heart, it's still a community of subsistence fishermen.

Dallas Love Field, Texas

Dallas Love Field (KDAL) airport seen from high altitude.

Dallas Love Field (KDAL) airport seen from high altitude. Photo: iStock

While it'd be an absolute delight to imagine that Dallas' secondary airport is somewhere that hippies come to copulate all night, the truth is somewhat more mundane. The airport was named in honour of Moss L. Love, a US Army pilot who became one of the first military aviators to die in a plane crash, way back in 1913.

Sydney Kingsford Smith, Australia

Sir Charles Kingsford Smith

Sir Charles Kingsford Smith

You might think naming an airport after a pilot who died in an air crash is pretty darned weird, but there are plenty of examples of this from around the world. And Australia is no exception – the country's biggest airport takes the name of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, whose plane disappeared over the Andaman Sea while trying to break the England to Australia flight speed record. His previous form included making the first non-stop flight across Australia and the first trans-Pacific flight from the US to Oz.

Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, Portugal

If naming airports after aviators who have died in plane crashes is weird, Porto in Portugal goes one step further by naming its airport after a passenger who died in a crash on the way to the airport in question. Francisco Sá Carneiro was the prime minister of Portugal, who died on the way to an election rally in Porto back in 1980.


Will Rogers World Airport, Oklahoma City

Taking the naming airports after people who died in plane crashes thing to a whole new level is Oklahoma City. Its main airport is named in honour of Will Rogers, a vaudeville performer from the state, who died in an accident over Alaska in 1935. Killed with him at the time was aviator Wiley Post – the first man to fly around the world solo. The name of Oklahoma City's secondary airport? Wiley Post.

Deadhorse Airport, Alaska

Deadhorse Airport, covered in snow

Deadhorse Airport, covered in snow. Photo: Wikipedia Commons

While it's tempting to think this name comes from an arriving jet mowing down a miscreant stallion, it's more boringly named after the settlement on Prudhoe Bay. Quite where that name comes from is a different matter – one theory says it's a trucking company that used to service the area. Nowadays the airport acts as a gateway to Alaska's far north, and is largely used by oil workers.

Batman Airport, Turkey

In the south-eastern corner of Turkey, Batman Airport has – sadly – nothing to do with the Caped Crusader. It just serves the oil city of Batman, which has flights to Istanbul and Ankara. And before sniggering, thinking Batman's a ridiculous name for a city, remember that Melbourne was almost called "Batmania"…

Tenzing-Hillary Airport, Lukla, Nepal

The world's most dangerous airport.

The world's most dangerous airport. Photo: Wikipedia Commons

This airport is renowned for two things – being the closest to Everest Base Camp, and having an alarming track record over the years for accidents. It is often called the most dangerous airport in the world, and for good reason. That it is named after the first two people to climb Everest is no surprise. Sir Edmund Hillary supervised the building of the airport, but it wasn't renamed in his honour until 2008. Quite whether he would have wanted this, given his wife and daughter died in a Nepalese plane crash, is a different matter.

Roland Garros Airport, Réunion

Roland Garros: Nothing to do with tennis

Roland Garros: Nothing to do with tennis. Photo: Wikipedia Commons

On the French Indian Ocean island of Réunion, the main hub for Air Austral shares the name of the tennis club where the French Open tournament is played. But the airport has nothing to do with tennis – both were named after the same man. Roland Garros was born in Saint-Denis, the main settlement on Réunion, and became a pilot, setting numerous aviation records before – you guessed it – he died in a plane crash. In this instance, he was shot down a few weeks before the end of World War I.

See also: Ten massively popular resort towns Aussies loathe

See also: Ten great airlines that don't fly to Australia (yet)