Kannur district derived its name from the location of its headquarters at Kannur town. The old name 'Cannanore' is the anglicised form of the Malayalam word Kannur. According to one opinion, 'Kannur' is a derivation from Kanathur, an ancient village, the name of which survives even today in one of the wards of Kannur Municipality. Another version is that Kannur might have assumed its name from one of the , deities of the Hindu pantheon, a compound of two words, Kannan (Lord Krishna) and Ur (place) making it the place of Lord Krishna. In this context, it is worth mentioning that the deity of the Katalayi Sreekrishna temple was originally installed in a shrine at Katalayi Kotta in the south eastern part of the present Kannur town.
13 percent of the population are employed overseas. Experts forecast that emigration from North Kerala is bound to increase in the coming years. An airport at Kannur, which can meet the demand of both airlines and passengers with facilities matching the international standards, merits strong consideration of the Government.
An International Airport at Kannur with international standards of safety and comfort is the aim of the government. Government of Kerala vide its order GO (MS)No.2/98/Tran dated 17.01.1998 accorded sanction for setting up Kannur International Airport and appointed KINFRA as the nodal agency for its implementation.
KINFRA engaged M/s. EMA Unihorn (India) Pvt. Ltd., Gurgaon as consultant and they submitted their Techno Economic Feasibility Report in 2000, which was updated in 2005. This was submitted to the Government of India. The Ministry of Civil Aviation gave approval for setting up an International Airport at Kannur.