X-Men reference to non-existent UK airport

The recent story about a DC comic footnoting Pakistan’s language as 'Pakinstanian" reminded me of a similar incident in a 1980s Marvel comic.

The characters involved travelled across the Atlantic by commercial jet and ended up in whatever small British town the plot required them to be visiting. The artist established this by putting a sign in the background of the panel giving the town’s name with the words “International Airport” under it.

I can’t remember which town it was, but I know it was a small enough place that the notion of it having an international airport was utterly ludicrous. This was pre-internet, so I think it must have been a British comics magazine which drew attention to it so we could all have a jolly good laugh at Marvel’s expense.

I want to say this happened in an X-Men comic of the Claremont/Byrne era, but I could very easily be wrong. Does any of this ring a bell? Can anyone help me fill in the details?

It wasn’t West Bromwich International Airport, by any chance? That’s where John Byrne is from.

When the X-Men land in your airport, there is usually a crash landing or worse, which is a good reason not to use “Heathrow.”

I don’t have a solid answer for you, but if it helps narrow down your search terms, a major location in the X-Men comics at the time was Muir Island, off the coast of Scotland. It first appeared in X-Men 104. Another possible location to narrow your search terms is Cassidy Keep, in Ireland, ancestral home to Sean “Banshee” Cassidy. It first showed up in 101. Both stories, IIRC, involved the X-Men travelling to remote parts of the British Isles through conventional commercial travel, instead of just dropping in on the place in their private jet.

(The Muir Island books also involved the X-Men renting a hovercraft to get to the island, which is of course destroyed - prompting it’s owner, Angus McWhirter, to briefly become a recurring villain, until he was killed and his body taken over by Proteus. I mention that because “disgruntled hovercraft captain” is my favorite X-villain description ever.)

Kind of shots in the dark, but I vaguely remember that mistake being mentioned on Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men when they were covering that era in the comics. Looking at their archives, it would have been episode nine or ten if you want to give it a listen to see if they cover it. The titular hosts are a hoot, and the podcast is a lot of fun, so it’s worth checking out just for the heck of it, even if it doesn’t have your answer.

Off-topic, I suppose, but not inapposite:

What were the restrictions in the UK, at that time (1980s), for calling your airfield an “international airport”? For that matter, what are the current restrictions?

Not much. To properly call something an “international airport,” it should have customs and immigration facilities. It doesn’t even need to have scheduled international flights, just the facilities to take care of them.

The first airport in the U.S. to be designated “international” was Bisbee-Douglas in Arizona – located at the Mexican border, but never exactly a world-class destination.

Whetstone International Airport, which straddles the Montana/Alberta border, has one runway that’s 4,400 feet long, (too short for jets, plus, it’s grass), no commercial service, no passenger facilities and no aviation fuel available.