Inside a new but dusty airport terminal Monday, construction workers sanded terrazzo floors while a drum corps from Eisenhower High School in Goddard played a march.
Crews didn’t stop their work, staying on task to finish the project even as officials and others gathered to unveil a new logo and name for Mid-Continent Airport.
The transition to Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport was made official with speeches from Mayor Carl Brewer and Mary Eisenhower, a granddaughter of the airport’s namesake.
During the logo reveal, attended by more than 70 people, the city’s director of airports, Victor White, said the new terminal should begin receiving commercial airliners and their passengers in May, “about four months earlier than we had anticipated when we did the groundbreaking.”
Mary Eisenhower, granddaughter of the 34th U.S. president, said Eisenhower would be “humbled and quite honored” by having his name attached to the airport.
“I don’t think it could get any better for him than right now,” she said.
In his remarks, White said renaming of the airport “pays tribute to Eisenhower’s rich history, and encouraging and supporting military, civilian aviation and aerospace activities, which are the foundations of our community as the air capital of the world.”
Mary Eisenhower and Brewer unveiled the airport’s new logo by pulling on drawstrings that unrolled a nearly 10-by-10-foot vinyl banner hung from the terminal’s ceiling. The logo, designed by advertising firm Sullivan, Higdon & Sink, incorporates a prominent W and a subtle E in a wing-like form.
Eisenhower, who served as president from 1953 to 1961, grew up in Abilene. His boyhood home is preserved in Abilene, on the grounds of Eisenhower’s presidential library and museum.
Mary Esienhower said in her remarks that her grandfather had a pilot’s license, and he and her father owned a Piper Cherokee, a single piston-engine aircraft.
“I should add that he was a talented pilot and quite keen on aerobatics,” she said in her speech.
White said in the coming weeks and months the Eisenhower name and logo will become more prominent in highway signs, marketing materials and social media.
“We are proud that Wichita is home to the first and only commercial airport in this country named in honor of Eisenhower,” he said in his speech.
White added that Wichita’s airport code, ICT, and its website, www.flywichita.com, remain the same following the name change.
White said the city will begin hosting a series of private and public events and tours of the terminal beginning in mid-April, followed by the first airline flights.
Construction on the the new terminal, part of a $200 million project begun in September 2012, includes construction of a $40 million parking garage.
White also acknowledged Wichita radio personality Jan Harrison as the “godmother” of the airport’s new name. While working as a morning co-host at KFXJ, 104.5-FM, Harrison helped launched a petition drive for the airport’s name change to Eisenhower. Last March, the Wichita City Council voted 5-2 to change the airport’s name.