Every once in awhile I post an article not necessarily for the 12MC audience, intended more as a public service to people who might come to the site for a highly specific purpose only a single time. I’m not always sure why I receive sudden website traffic surges, however I try to be accommodating. Often it’s because of an Internet quiz or a crossword puzzle, or even a classroom homework assignment. This time the query related to airports named after fictional characters.
Currently — and this could change at any moment or differ from person-to-person — an article from the Twelve Mile Circle occupies the top result for a Google search on that phrase. We should thank loyal reader Peter for our fortunate result since it was his comment that generated this recent round of hits.
The original article, Studios to Towns, was all about places related to the movie industry. That led to comments about airports named after Bob Hope, John Wayne, and various other showbiz personalities, and then segued to fictional characters after meandering a bit. Peter mentioned Robin Hood and Don Quijote (or the more familiar Quixote in the English version).
If you’ve arrived on the website looking for "Airports Named after Fictional Characters" the answer is probably Robin Hood. Feel free to move away from the website and go to the next question if you like. I won’t take it personally. If you want to explore the possibilities in a little more detail including a coupe of surprises, then pull up a seat and stick around for awhile.
Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield
I thought the best answer was Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield because it had considerably more passenger traffic than any other alternative. Doncaster sits practically on its doorstep and Sheffield is less than twenty miles away. Robin Hood handled 700,000 passengers in 2012 with several regular international flights to places like Spain, Poland and Egypt.
The name came with a minor controversy. Some people in Nottingham complained that Robin Hood belonged to them, not to Doncaster farther north. Doncaster advocates countered that their city aligned more closely with the geographic placement of Sherwood Forest. The official 12MC position: it doesn’t matter, he wasn’t a real person. At best, he was a composite of many different outlaws.
Aeropuerto Ciudad Real Central (aka. Aeropuerto Don Quijote)
Aeropuerto Don Quijote in Spain presented a seriously messed-up situation. Officially it was called Ciudad Real Central Airport. That caveat made it difficult to consider it an airport named for a fictional character. The second issue was tremendously more problematic. The airport closed in 2012 after only three years of operation. It went into bankruptcy. That made the question of its name completely moot.
Huffington Post noted in Ciudad Real International Airport Sits Abandoned In Central Spain (July 2012) that airport construction cost 1.1 billion Euros, "offered a high-speed rail connection to Madrid some 150 miles away and was meant to handle roughly 600,000 passengers annually." BBC reported on speculation that the airport was actually designed to fail from the beginning.
When a local construction magnate came up with the idea of an airport in Ciudad Real, money was sloshing around Spain for public works… “You might think the airport failed because of the crisis, but I am convinced that the shareholders never thought it (the airport) would work. The only profit in this airport was the building of it,” says local investigative journalist Carlos Otto. “The construction itself of the airport provided the first profit for the investors because they signed contracts with their own construction companies.”
Aeropuerto Don Quijote doesn’t quality for the list at the moment. Perhaps it could be reopened someday and we might be able to look at it again.
Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin
Flin Flon Airport
I found a couple of airports on my own.
The first one was named for the fictional Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin. Actually, it was named for the nearby town that was named for Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin. Longtime 12MC readers are already familiar with the story. The Canadian town and its airport are both named Flin Flon after the title character of a particularly dreadful 1905 pulp-fiction novel. Flin Flon, the town, straddles the border between Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Flin Flon, the airport, falls completely within Manitoba.
Two airlines serve Flin Flon Airport, Calm Air and Bearskin, with regular passenger service to Winnipeg. The city said their runway could accommodate a Boeing 737. I don’t know how many jets of that size need to land near a town of fewer than 6,000 residents, however, the runway is available should passenger demand require it.
The last one was a stretch. It’s a heliport. At a hospital. It has a Canadian Location Identifier (CPE2) although it does not have an International Air Transport Association airport code. That makes sense as I think about it some more. Nobody will need to check luggage to their final destination for any of these flights.
Ajax Heliport serves Rouge Valley Ajax and Pickering Hospital in Ontario. The heliport was named for the nearby Town of Ajax, which in turn was named for the HMS Ajax, a light cruiser that saw service in the Second World War. Going back farther, the HMS Ajax was named for a hero of Greek mythology that appeared in the Iliad. Got all that? Ajax, the heliport, for Ajax, the hospital, for Ajax the town, for Ajax the ship, for Ajax the fictional Greek hero.
I welcome additions to the list.