Today history was made as the new brand for the recently renamed Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF) was officially unveiled by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lonnie Ali, wife of Muhammad Ali. Officials with the Louisville Regional Airport Authority, the Muhammad Ali Center and Louisville Tourism also took part in the special event.
“Muhammad Ali’s incredible story, his connection to our city and his legacy present us with both an opportunity and a responsibility. We must do more than preserve his legacy; we must nurture, cultivate and advance that legacy because the name Muhammad Ali – and the values that he stood for – will forever have the power to inspire people to make the world a better place,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “That’s why we’re renaming this airport for him, why we’re unveiling a logo today that symbolizes his boldness and his ability to connect with people around the world – the mark of a compassionate warrior. We want the world to know that The Champ’s legacy is alive and well, and growing in Louisville.”
“I am so very proud, yet humbled by today’s renaming of the Louisville International Airport in honor of my late husband, Muhammad Ali,” said Lonnie Ali, widow of Muhammad Ali. “No matter how many miles Muhammad traveled, he always came back to the place he called home and he always made his visitors feel welcome. It is my hope that all people who travel to Louisville will feel that same welcoming spirit as they enter this airport and want to return to visit again soon.”
The brand unveiling follows action taken by the Airport Authority Board, who voted in January 2019 to change the airport’s name to honor Louisville native Muhammad Ali. The airport’s three-letter International Air Transport Association Location Identified – SDF – will remain the same.
“Today is an exciting day for the airport,” said Dale Boden, Airport Authority Board member. “As the world arrives in Louisville, we’re pleased they will be met with the name of ‘The Greatest’ that is prominently represented in the airport. We want travelers to feel his greatness and strength, to feel the compassion of our city and to feel welcomed in a great facility.”
The new brand was created by Badge Design, an identity and design studio that is part of the Louisville-based media and marketing communications company, OvareGroup.
The range of colors in the brand mark – from deep red to a golden orange – highlight the action of the Champ’s arms raising in victory while signifying strength and power. The shape of the butterfly pays homage to Ali’s famous phrase, “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” and the context of flight for the airport. These elements, combined with the iconic silhouette offer a boldness that is unique to Louisville and its airport.
“Muhammad Ali was a global citizen who impacted the world through his respect and love for all people, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender or geographic border,” said Donald Lassere, President and CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center. “The renaming of the airport communicates to the world that Muhammad Ali’s hometown is bold in its thinking, along with being a city of greatness and compassion.”
The unveiling took place as part of Ali Week, hosted by the Muhammad Ali Center to honor The Greatest. This annual event is held the first week of June to mark the passing of Ali with special events, art, music and other activities to celebrate his legacy and impact as a heavyweight champion, activist, cultural icon and global humanitarian.
“Muhammad Ali was and is an inspiration to the world for people of different backgrounds,” said Anwar Khan, President and Founder of Islamic Relief USA, who spoke at the event. “The renaming of this airport shows the world that Louisville is open to the world. The Muslim community appreciates this gesture of openness and love, which recognizes the legacy of one of Louisville’s favorite sons.”
Nearly 3.9 million travelers pass through Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport each year, and will be greeted with representation of one of the most well-known worldwide.
“The Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport serves as a gateway to tourism for the city, and it will now be a place for visitors to have a touchpoint with one of the world’s most recognized icons of all time,” says Karen Williams, President and CEO of Louisville Tourism. “Even three years after our city’s most famous son’s passing, Louisville continues to see people coming from across the globe to discover and trace Ali’s legacy. The airport rebranding supports current marketing efforts to engage in Ali’s ‘Footsteps of Greatness’ as a reason to inspire visitation to Louisville.”
The Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport is served by six airlines offering flights to more than 30 nonstop destinations including 19 of the region’s top 20 domestic markets. With just one stop, travelers from across the region can reach more than 460 destinations in the U.S. and worldwide.
For more information about the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport, visit www.FlyLouisville.com.