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Louisville Airport to Be Named for Muhammad Ali

Although the late boxer had a fear of flying, his hometown plans to name an airport in his honor.

Louisville Airport to Be Named for Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali clowning around during training for "The Thrilla in Manila" in September 1975. (Photo Credit: mark reinstein /

Muhammad Ali, who would have turned 77 on Thursday, is being remembered by his Kentucky hometown.

According to The Washington Post, officials announced Wednesday that Louisville International Airport would be renamed Louisville Muhammad Ali International.

Ironically, Ali was afraid of flying despite traveling so far as Zaire, Africa, for his historic match against George Foreman in October 1974.

The airport will maintain its current three-letter code–SDF–because Alice International Airport in Texas uses the “ALI” code.

“Muhammad Ali belonged to the world, but he only had one hometown, and fortunately that is our great city of Louisville,” Mayor Greg Fischer said, according to the Courier Journal. “Muhammad became one of the most well-known people to ever walk the Earth and has left a legacy of humanitarianism and athleticism that has inspired billions of people.”

Lonnie Ali, the boxer’s widow, released a statement regarding the airport renaming.

“I am proud that the Louisville Regional Airport Authority and the City of Louisville are supportive of changing the name of the Louisville International Airport to reflect Muhammad’s impact on the city and his love for his hometown,” she said.

“I am happy that visitors from far and wide who travel to Louisville will have another touch point to Muhammad and be reminded of his open and inclusive nature, which is reflective of our city. Muhammad was a global citizen, but he never forgot the city that gave him his start. It is a fitting testament to his legacy.”

Ali died in 2016 after a long battle with Parkinson’s syndrome.


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