The Arkansas capital's Municipal Airport Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to rename the airport in honor of the former president and the current secretary of State, a rare twin billing for the state's former first couple.
The change won't be official until the Federal Aviation Administration signs off. Adams Field, the designation for the airport's aeronautical operations, will remain the same.
"Bill and Hillary Clinton not only devoted years of service to Arkansas, but have served the nation as a two-term President, and as First Lady, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State -- that’s a legacy of which all Arkansans can be proud," Jim Dailey, chairman of the airport commission, said in a statement. "The Clintons continue to have a major impact on our state and our local economy, and we believe renaming our airport in their honor is a fitting way to recognize their service and their position in Arkansas and our nation's history."
The commission noted in its decision the draw that Bill Clinton's presidential library in Little Rock has become, as well as the economic development it spurred in the city's downtown. The Clinton Library is the state's top attraction for out-of-state visitors.
The former president released a statement saying that he and his wife "are humbled" by the decision.
"We are grateful for this honor and for all that the people of Arkansas have done for us. And we look forward to many happy landings at the airport in the years ahead," he said.
Presidents Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Theodore Roosevelt have airports named in their honor. No airport bears the name of a former first lady, but Washington's Dulles Airport is named after former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles.
The commission said the renaming is part of a strategic plan that includes extensive renovations and expansion, with the aim of becoming an international airport.