Actually, in 2001, Okęcie was re-named Międzynarodowy Port Lotniczy imienia Fryderyka Chopina, (official translation: Frederic Chopin International Airport; literal translation International Aviation Port in the Fryderyk's Chopin's name). This was a name so clunky it had to be changed to Lotnisko Chopina w Warszawie (official translation: Warsaw Chopin Airport; literal translation Airport of Chopin in Warsaw) in January 2010 in the hope of gaining in popularity - it did not.
Celebrating its 80th birthday last year, the airport's administration had to keep quiet about the fact that the airport's official name does not enjoy widespread use, or that for 67 of those 80 years it was officially called something else. Maybe its to do with Mr Chopin being the son of a bloody foreign migrant with a difficult-to-pronounce surname.
In general, the names of few airports named after people have gained traction. Flying to John Lennon? Er, no, Liverpool, actually. Naming airports after people is so un-British. Tel Aviv - Ben who? Toronto -Enough already! Few Poles can say who Kraków's airport is named after (Shame on you!). Two exceptions - Paris CdG, and above all New York's JFK. Globally recognised. Given that Fryderyk Chopin's middle name was Franciszek, maybe 'Warsaw FFC' might catch on? (Or not.)
Helping to make things difficult is the naming convention. In Polish, the genitive form is used - Lotnisko Chopina is literally 'Airport of Chopin' or 'Chopin's Airport'. Adding the extra 'a' to a name that is globally familiar can be disconcerting to foreigners in Warsaw for the first time and seeing the name spelt differently on signposts and stations.
How does one pronounce it? The British pronounce 'Chopin' in a manner approximating to the French way - SHOW-pan. Or Show-PAN if you fancy yourself as an intellectual. But then add the 'a' at the end and you get - what? 'SHOW-pannah', 'Show-PIE-ner' or 'Show-pan-AY'? And how do Poles pronounce 'Chopina'? - Shoh-PEN-uh... This is all very confusing when you're in a hurry to catch your plane. The railways do their bit too. The English language announcement at W-wa Śródmieście talks of the 'train to the Warsaw SHOW-pen airport arriving at Platform 3'.
I'm in a bind over this one. I can understand the authorities' reluctance to backpedal, but Poles are sticking to Okęcie. Maybe rename it after another famous Polish composer? Certainly Wojciech Kilar would not make the shortlist. Or simply rename the composer of the Etude Revolutionaire or Nocturne in E flat major 'Fryderyk Okęcie'. Which I've started doing.
This time last year:
Three stations in need of repair
This time two years ago
Late evening, Śródmieście
This time three years ago:
Ranking a better life
This time five years ago:
Paysages de Varsovie
This time six years ago:
Spring walk, twilight time