Arkansas News Bureau

Arkansas News Bureau

LITTLE ROCK — The Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to rename Little Rock National Airport in honor of former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The name change to Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport will need approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Bill Clinton said in a statement Tuesday, “Hillary and I are humbled by the Little Rock Airport Commission’s decision this morning. We are grateful for this honor and for all that the people of Arkansas have done for us. And we look forward to many happy landings at the airport in the years ahead.”

The seven-member commission said it would not rename the airport’s runways and aeronautical operations, which will continue to be known as Adams Field. The name honors Arkansas National Guard Capt. George Geyer Adams, who served on the Little Rock City Council and was killed in the line of duty in 1937.

The airport’s official designator will remain LIT.

Hillary Clinton formerly served as legal counsel for the airport and the commission as a Little Rock lawyer.

“The Clintons continue to have a major impact on our state and our local economy, and we believe renaming our airport in their honor is a fitting way to recognize their service and their position in Arkansas and our nation’s history,” Commission Chairman Jim Dailey said in a news release.

Gretchen Hall, president and CEO of the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, said renaming the airport for the Clintons “gives the facility an identity that will be instantly recognized nationally and internationally.”

The renaming coincides with the airport’s 2020 Vision Plan, a reconstruction project aimed at preparing the airport to become an international airport. The initial phase of the project began in early 2011 and is expected to be completed in February 2013 at a cost of $67 million, with a second phase occurring over the next several years.

Bill Clinton will not be the only living ex-president with airport named for him. George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston is named for the elder former President Bush.