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Milan airport to be named after former late PM Berlusconi

July 6, 2024

Malpensa Airport, one of Italy's main airports, will be renamed Aeroporto Silvio Berlusconi, after the divisive politician. The decision was taken by one of Berlusconi's political allies.

Flight schedule screens at Milan's Malpensa Airport
Former Prime Minister Sylvio Berlusconi died last year aged 86 and was considered among Italy's most divisive figuresImage: picture alliance/ipa-agency

The main international airport in Italy's northern city of Milan is to be renamed after former Italian Prime Minister and business tycoon, Silvio Berlusconi.

Transport Minister Matteo Salvini made the announcement while addressing a conference in southern Italy.

Why was the name chosen?

"Seeing as the final decision rests with the transport minister, I really think it will go ahead," said Salvini, leader of the rightist League party and a long-time Berlusconi ally.

"In memory of my friend Silvio, a great businessman, a great Milanese citizen and a great Italian," Salvini later posted on social media platform X above a photo of Berlusconi and Malpensa airport, situated about 50 kilometres (31 miles) outside of the city. 

Salvini said the civil aviation authority had approved a request by the Lombardy region to rename Malpensa airport in honor of the late Italian premier.

Berlusconi died last year at the age of 86 having led four governments as leader of of his centre-right Forza Italia party, and was considered one of Italy's most divisive figures.

He was lauded by some for his charisma and force of will, while critics derided him as a populist who wielded political power as a means to enrich himself and his businesses.

Berlusconi seemed untouchable despite the personal scandals, with criminal cases either dismissed as statutes of limitations ran out or with the politician securing victory on appeal. 

kb/rc (Reuters, dpa)