Alicante-Elche airport to be re-named

Alicante-Elche airport will be renamed after the Mediterranean province’s most famous poet, Miguel Hernández – an announcement that was made on what would have been his 110th birthday.
The literary icon, born in Orihuela, died young, a victim of dictator General Franco’s forces.
Although sentenced to death when he was jailed in March 1940, aged 29, Hernández was not one of the estimated hundreds of thousands executed by firing squad; he caught tuberculosis whilst behind bars, and the permit for his transfer to the specialist hospital in Valencia came too late – he passed away on 28th March, 1942 in the prison’s medical wing.
Hernández, who was romantically linked for a time with celebrated artist Maruja Mallo and who was married to Josefina Manresa, had joined the Republicans and the Communist Party of Spain, based upon ideas shared wealth and guaranteed minimum living standards, and one of the main movements which opposed Franco’s fascist régime.
However, opposing Franco’s regime, once the General gained power after his faction won the Civil War, was a dangerous move. Numerous firing squad victims are being exhumed from unmarked common graves at present, but the handful of these that have even been traced are suspected to be the mere tip of the iceberg.
During his 31 years and five months of life, Hernández published seven books of poetry and five plays, many of which has been translated into several languages since his death.
His posthumous honours include Elche University being named after him, being named Predilect Son of the province of Alicante and Adoptive Son of the city of Murcia – and the next could be an airport.
Spain’s transport minister José Luis Ábalos said he had set the wheels in motion to add Hernández’s name to the terminal on the 110th anniversary of the poet’s birth. An official commemoration was held at Valencia’s Temple Palace, in the presence of regional president Ximo Puig, Valencia’s mayor Joan Ribó and MP for the region Gloria Calero.
Hernández’s granddaughter was there, as was his daughter-in-law, the widow of his son Manuel Miguel, who died in 1984 aged 45 – he had grown up as an only child, since his elder brother Manuel Ramón, born in December 1937, only lived to be nine months old.
Ábalos said Spain owes a debt to the prolific writer.
“No country worth its salt can possibly condemn one of its most relevant poets to death and come out of it morally unscathed,” the minister said. “Spain owes him a tribute. Incorporating his name into that of Alicante-Elche airport will pay a small part of our debt to him.
“We’ve set the wheels in motion and it’ll be done as soon as possible.”
Puig said this was ‘great news’. “The biggest gateway to the Comunidad Valenciana from the rest of the world will be called ‘Miguel Hernández’,” he said, triumphantly.
Hernández’s surviving family said they ‘very much appreciated’ the gesture.
“He deserves everything,” they said.
Alicante-Elche airport – formerly referred to solely as ‘Alicante’ and as ‘El Altet’, after the tied hamlet where it is technically based – serves the whole of the Costa Blanca and acts as an alternative to the Costa Cálida airport in San Javier, Murcia, and to that of Valencia.