If you are a flight attendant, you are probably familiar with the three-letter airport codes that identify every commercial airport in the world.
Airports like DFW, LGA and HOU are easy to find. However, why is there an X in LAX? How did Washington Dulles breathe with IAD? And what is the agreement with almost every airport code? Canada?
Learn more about airport codes and the logic behind them in this section, which is available daily.
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The history of airport codes was even before the creation of airplanes.
The United States The National Weather Service was created after the Civil War. They monitor the weather in military camps around the country and transmit weather reports by telegraph to other stations.
Codes for US cities have been developed to facilitate telegraph reports. These two-letter codes were too short for telegraph operators.
Linn When commercial aviation began in the United States in the 1930’s, pilots began to use national weather service codes to identify the cities they flew to.
But there were two major problems. First, not all U.S. cities had a weather service code, and second, they did not have enough double-letter combinations to cover all cities, especially if the system was to be used outside the United States. There are only 676 possible 2-letter combinations.
A three-letter system was developed to address these limitations. There are 17,576 possible 3-letter combinations, assuming each letter combination is used.
This three-letter system was eventually modified by the International Air Transport Association or the IIA. Today, airports and municipalities around the world are responsible for assigning three-letter codes.
IATA codes are only available to airports on regular commercial flights. There are 46,465 in the world, including every closed airport and airport.
There is also another set of codes for four-letter airports. The four-letter codes are assigned by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
ICO is a United Nations infrastructure organization and ITA is a business group. The four-letter IKAE airport codes are used for official use, and most airline passengers have no clue what the codes are.
For the rest of this section, I will focus on the IATA codes that we all use and are clearly visible on our luggage tags when booking flights.
So why were the airport codes?
They fall into several categories.
The first category is code that makes perfect sense. These are usually derived from the first three letters of the city name.
For example, Houston is the code for Houston, DN for Denver, ATL is the code for Atlanta, and AMS is the code for Amsterdam. Fukuoka, Japan It falls into this category and I will let you know what it is.
There is another small category of codes that pilots have been using since the days the pilots used the National Weather Service Code. These airport codes were only modified by putting the letter X at the end of the first two-letter city code.
LAX for Los Angeles, PDX, Portland and PHX for Phoenix are all based on previous weather service codes.
Siox City, Iowa has a SUX code for this reason.
Some codes come from the airport area or from several cities.
MSP is from Minneapolis and St. Paul. FLL is for Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood. The DFA is Dallas-Fort Worth and the DTA is Detroit-Wayne County.
Other airport codes are difficult to understand, but if you know the reason behind them, they have some meaning.
CVG is code for Cincinnati, it doesn’t make sense at first. However, the airport is located in Kentucky, not in Cincinnati, and the nearest city is Covington, which is named after him. The CIN code was actually used for Carol, Iowa.
Many codes are named after the airport, not the city.
JFK is for John F. Kennedy International and LGA is La Laguardia in New York. CDG is for Charles de Gaulle Paris.
Dulles International Airport in Washington has a meaningless IAD code. But there is good reason for that. The code was DI at the airport. However, he was confused by another DCA station in Washington. In 1968, they simply moved the letters. DCA means District of Columbia– Arlington.
Other airport codes are the same as airports.
Chicago Airport is an ORD that has nothing to do with the city or the airport. ODD comes to the airport from the old name, the orchard.
It is also the Orlando Airport Code MCO. The MCC was the Macy’s Air Force Base Code, which was formerly the airport.
Kahlui Airport in Maui has a really meaningless OGG code. However, it was named after Bertram J. “Jimmy” Hog, who was a pioneer in aviation. Hawaii. OGG is the last three letters in “hog”.
The New Orleans code is MISY, which is for Moisant Stock Yards. The name comes from John Moisant, a courageous judge who died in a plane crash on his current farm in 1910.
There are very clear codes that are not assigned to airports. They are used for all cities when searching.
CHI is for all of Chicago. NYC is for all of New York and Lon is for London. If you search for those codes, you will find all the airports in that city. There are also other codes for cities with many airports, including Moscow, Rio, Rome, Seoul, Jakarta and Buenos Aires.
Because each airport is limited to three letters, you get all kinds of combinations. Russia’s Bolshevik Savino Airport code is PE and Brazil’s Poko de Caldas airport code is POO.
No matter how unusual the code may seem, there is often a mechanism behind it, and even though it is a historical aircraft, why does it do it, and why does it have an airport code?
Now there is one final category of airport code that needs more clarification at first glance, but here there is a reason behind naming agreements. Those will be Canadian airports.
TorontoLeicester B. Pearson International Airport has a YYZ code. “Y” or “Z” are not found anywhere in the name of a city or airport. There is no historical name for the airport that uses those letters.
In fact, most major Canadian airport codes start with the letter Y.
So, what is the agreement with Y and Canadian airports?
As in the United States, the improvement of airport codes in Canada is linked to the weather.
Pilots needed to know that the airport had a weather station. They are used to show that a prefix weather station is occupied by a two-letter airport code in Canada.
The letter “Y” was used to indicate “yes”. If there is no weather station, the letter “W” is used.
They quickly registered all the airport codes by 1947, and at that time all major Canadian airports had weather stations. When it comes time to pick up codes, all Canadian airports are stuck. You were using it.
Okay, that explains why everything starts with Y, but what about the other two letters? Why Toronto YYZ? What to do with the YZ class?
This is related to the telegraph stations used by the Canadian National Railways. Each telegraph station had a two-letter code that had little to do with the name of the city in which it was actually located. Malton, Ontario The airport where the airport is now located was YZ.
Gather it all together and find it, yes yes there is a weather station, in place YZ.
This means that all the first airports in Canada have been named and the letter Y is also in place.
I close by mentioning that there are three letters in the United States that do not start any airport code, K, N and W.
The letters K and W are not confused with all North American radio stations because they use both letters to call.
Letter N is used for US Navy ships.
So, getting out of this all the time is always the same reason that the airport code contains. Sometimes it is obvious, sometimes it may be covered in history, or it may be Canadian.
In any case, there is a hidden reason behind the creation of airport codes.
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