Milan airport to be renamed after Silvio Berlusconi

The Milan Malpensa Airport will be undergoing a name change. Following a request by the region of Lombardy, Italy’s civil aviation authority has approved to name change of the travel hub after former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Reportedly, the request was put down by late Berlusconi’s political allies. The choice for Milan was taken given the fact that this was the prime minister’s birthplace. The news was announced by Italy’s Transport Minister, Matteo Salvini, during a conference in southern Italy on 5 July.

“Seeing as the final decision rests with the transport minister, I really think it will go ahead,” said Salvini, who is the leader of the right wing Lega (League) party and a known Berlusconi ally. “Just today the board of directors of ENAC (National Civil Aviation Authority) approved the request made by the Lombardy Region one year ago. The final decision lies with the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport and I am ready to put the last signature, with pride and emotion, in the memory of my friend Silvio, a great entrepreneur, a great Milanese and a great Italian. Always with us,” he later shared on X, following up with a video about how “Silvio Berlusconi made the history of this country”.

Silvio Berlusconi, who died at the age of 86 in 2023, might be one of the most divisive figures in Italy’s recent history. As leader of the centre-right Forza Italia party, he led four governments. And even though some praised him for his charisma, many considered him to be a populist and someone who mainly wanted to just get rich through politics. Despite the fact that he faced many criminal accusations, the cases always ended up being dismissed due to statutes of limitations running out or even ended in victory on appeal for Berlusconi.

Milan Malpensa Airport is the biggest in the region and the second biggest in Italy (after Rome Fiumicino Airport), with over 26 million passengers being handled in 2023. It was opened up to civil operations in 1948 and is located on the border of the Lombardy and Piedmont provinces, 49 kilometres outside Milan.