Heritage campaigners have branded a move to rename the city’s airport London Oxford as “insulting”.
Bosses at the airport have decided on the change in a bid to attract more business flights and private jets.
They hope to make capital gains by rebranding the site in Kidlington as a London airport despite the fact it is 59 miles from Marble Arch, the centre of London.
The change means Oxford becomes the ninth airport to come under London’s umbrella.
The move has been welcomed by business leaders, but criticised by civic leaders as an insult to Oxford’s status as a world-famous city.
Oxford Civic Society member Ros Weatherall said: “Good grief. Oxford is a great place in its own right and I find it insulting it is being considered just another offshoot of London.
“Trying to make Oxford seem like a suburb of London is very misleading.
“This is an insult to the major historical and cultural impact Oxford has had on the country.”
The society’s transport secretary David Townsend, 77, said: “It seems rather silly.
“Oxford isn’t a London airport and we wouldn’t want it to be.
“Anyone who wanted to go to London wouldn’t want to end up in Kidlington.
“I find it amazing, Oxford is quite capable of standing on its own feet.”
It comes just a month after we revealed the airport was in talks with several operators about starting daily business flights to European capitals, as well as offering further weekly charter
flights for tourists.
However, the airport which is owned by billionaire brothers David and Simon Reuben through the holding company Aldersgate Investments, has denied the move is part of a plan to increase the number
of charter flights to the airport.
But the airport’s marketing manager James Dillon Godfray hopes to bring in up to five more private business flights a day. There is an average of ten private business arrivals to the airport every
He said: “We’re not meaning to insult Oxford or play down its history.
“Oxford is probably the second best recognised city in the UK throughout the entire world but people just don’t realise how close it is to London.
“This will help increase awareness of our existence to the overseas business aviation sector, many of whom were not aware of the availability of an airport to the north-west of London.
“This will, of course, attract more business to the city and county by default.
“Oxford could be losing out on custom by not identifying itself as a viable London alternative.”
Oxfordshire Chamber of Commerce policy executive Claire Prosser said: “By and large we think it’s a good idea.
“We appreciate Oxford is 50 miles from London, but we shouldn’t be too parochial about this.
“We want to keep the brand of Oxford but this decision is looking to tie in with the marketability of London.
“It’s a pull for businesses and should be good for the business community in Oxfordshire and inward investment.”