LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Muhammad Ali’s Kentucky hometown will honor the late boxer by renaming its airport for him.
The Louisville Regional Airport Authority’s board voted Wednesday to change the name to Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport. Ali would have turned 77 Thursday. He died in 2016.
Ali’s widow, Lonnie Ali, said in a news release from the board that she is proud of the name change. She said although Ali was a “global citizen,” he never forgot his hometown.
We are so excited to announce that @FlyLouisville will be changing it's name to Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport. Keeping Muhammad's legacy alive in his hometown that he loved so much is vital to the Ali Center's mission.
What a great birthday present for The Champ! pic.twitter.com/7bICfilkzw
— Muhammad Ali Center (@AliCenter) January 16, 2019
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer cited research showing that Ali’s name recognition is greater than Louisville’s and said he’s organizing a group to work toward celebrating Ali’s Louisville ties more broadly.
The airport board said the decision came after a working group studied renaming the airport for more than a year.