USA Renamed Louisville Airport to Muhammad Ali International Airport

Louisville's international airport officially has a new name after hometown boxing hero Muhammad Ali. The Muslim community is celebrating the switch and symbolism behind it.

Muhammad Ali may have had a fear of flying, but Louisville’s airport has a new name and a new logo to honor the boxing champ. 

The airport’s name was officially changed from Louisville International Airport to the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport in January.

On Thursday, as part of Ali Week, the new branding for the airport was revealed. The logo, created by Badge Design, features Ali’s silhouette, arms up and victorious, against the background of a butterfly. The logo morphs from red to orange, meant to highlight strength and power. 

It was unveiled at a ceremony that included Ali’s widow, Lonnie Ali; representatives of the Muhammad Ali Center; and members of Mayor Greg Fischer’s office.

“It’s ironic that a man who left this city to embark on his first international trip with a fear of flying now has the airport, the place where he was welcomed back from that trip from the Rome Olympics as an Olympic gold medalist, now will bear his name,” Lonnie Ali said.

She said airport visitors “will feel that same welcoming embrace from the city and its citizens that everyone felt who met Muhammad.”  

Fischer said it made sense to rename the airport after Ali because the Louisville native was all about bringing people together — “something we need now more than ever” — and that happens at the airport.

Anwar Khan, the president and founder of Islamic Relief USA, said it was significant that an airport in America be named after an American Muslim. 

“As a Muslim American,” Khan said, “it’s not always easy for me to have that experience at the airport.” But, he feels that this gesture is the first step to real inclusion for people of all different religions and races. 

Growing up in England, he said he and others looked to Ali as a Muslim role model. “To us, he was the greatest,” he said.