John Wayne, Robert Burns and the Great Glasgow Airport Debate

sna-airport.jpgMember of the Scottish Parliament Alex Neil played the Duke card as he joined Scottish government officials in pressing for renaming Glasgow Prestwick Airport after Robert Burns in honor of the poet, lyricist and Scotland favorite son's 250th birthday in January.

"I remember flying into John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, and the fact it was called John Wayne was a big tourist attraction," Neil said. "I don't see why we shouldn't exploit the Burns brand here in Scotland."

Alas, as the Scottish news and sports site the Daily Record reports today, airport brass balked on the idea of a Robert Burns International Airport.

Airport chief Mark Rodwell says he appreciates Burns' huge importance to an "Ayrshire and Scottish identity" and the bard's many followers around the world, but three other identifiers are most important when it comes to airport names: location, location, location.

"Glasgow Prestwick is the right name for this airport given that it is in Prestwick and its closest major city is Glasgow," Rodwell said. "Visitors may not instantly connect with or geographically place a Robert Burns brand."

It's not like the major Orange County airport, John Wayne Airport, or SNA, which is located in -- take your pick -- Santa Ana, Irvine or Costa Mesa, confuses travelers.

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