MIAMI – Today in Aviation, Liverpool’s Speke Airport (LPL) celebrated the legacy of native musician John Lennon by taking his name in 2001.

The airport had its origins in the suburb of Speke, where the City Council decided to build a small airport. While the airport started scheduled flights in 1930, it officially opened to the public in 1933.

Soon, the air travel demand went up. As a result, a passenger terminal, a control tower, and two aircraft hangars were built. However, Speke Airport still needed an expansion.

Speke Airport in its beginnings. Photo: Liverpool Echo.

From a Small Airfield to a Private Airport


By 1937, authorities leased 70-110 acres of Speke state to the Air Ministry to built improvements to city’s aerodrome.

Managed by manufacturer Rootes Securities, construction work started in the same year. The facility became the shadow factory site as WW II began. Once the conflict ended, civil operations resumed from the airport.

By 1961, the city took control over Speke and prepared expansion plans with a southern terminal. 30 years later, the airport was privatized under British Aerospace and became a subsidiary of Peel Holdings.

In 2002, the airport changed its front to officially unveil its new name. Photo: Wikicommons

2000 Entry with a New Obeisance Name


Being the home city of the world-famous rock band The Beatles, LPL operators decided to pay tribute to one of its members, John Lennon, 21 years after his death.

On July 2, 2001, it was announced that Speke airport would be renamed Liverpool John Lennon Airport. However, the name would become official the following year when the airport opened its new terminal.

Until that moment, the honor of renaming places had belonged only to heads of state, making the former Beatle the first British personality to receive this obeisance.

‘Above us only sky’ John Lennon Statue at LPL runway hall. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A Statue at LPL


To complete the remembrance, local sculptor Tom Murphy created a life-size bronze statue to be placed in the hall of the modern runway. The statue was unveiled by Yoko Ono and Cherie Booth QC on 15th March 2002.

Since that moment, LPL’s new logo would be one of Lennon’s self-portrait drawings while its trapline would read “above us only sky,” a phrase taken from his famous song “Imagine.”


Featured image: Liverpool John Lennon Airport. Photo: Peterjgerloff – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0. Article source: LPL.