Milan airport to be renamed Silvio Berlusconi airport

Italian President Mattarella meets leaders of the conservative bloc that won the 2022 general election, in Rome

MILAN (Reuters) - Milan's main airport will be renamed after former Italian prime minister and business tycoon Silvio Berlusconi, Transport Minister Matteo Salvini said on Friday.

Berlusconi, who died last year aged 86, led four governments at the helm of his centre-right Forza Italia party, and was one of Italy's most divisive figures of modern times.

Speaking at a conference in southern Italy, Salvini said the civil aviation authority had approved a request by the Lombardy region around Milan to rename Malpensa airport in honour of Berlusconi, who hailed from the country's financial capital.

"Seeing as the final decision rests with the transport minister, I really think it will go ahead," said Salvini, leader of the rightist League party and a long-time Berlusconi ally.

"In memory of my friend Silvio, a great businessman, a great Milanese citizen and a great Italian," Salvini later posted on social media platform X above a photo of Berlusconi and Malpensa airport.

(Reporting by Romolo Tosiani, editing by Gavin Jones and Angus MacSwan)