giovedì 25 settembre 2014


Some airport codes make perfect sense for example Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, SYD, MEL, PER, the first three letters of each city's name. You'd think it would be just as simple for every other airport to follow, but not so. Brisbane had to ditch the BRI in favour of BNE because it was already taken by an airport in the Italian city of Bari, unfortunately the easy selection of BAR had to be avoided because it was assigned to the Baker Army Airfield which is now abandoned. In some cases the tricky airport code skips a letter or two like Adelaide, ADL, and Auckland AKL or in Hong Kong's case HKG picking a few from both words.

It is widely understood that LAX is for Los Angeles but where does the 'X' come from? It's a remnant from the early days of air travel when airports were referred to by a  two letter weather station code. When the growth of air travel created the need for three-letter codes, the airport’s original designation had an ‘X’ added to ease the transition, as did Portland (PDX).
Dublin took the code DUB which meant that Dubai had to import the 'X' to make it DXB, only really to fill out the three characters needed. In other cases across the world, the airport codes take the first letter of the city's name followed by two letters for the airport itself. London, Heathrow is LHR and London Gatwick is LGW. To really throw a spanner in the works, and getting rid of the L  altogether, London Stansted airport is tagged as STN, slightly confusing.

In Asia, old school sometimes takes preference. Beijing is in fact PEK. It represents the old anglicised name of Peking which was changed to Beijing after the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949. In the United States, Chicago is also stepping back in time with its code ORD. While officially known as the O'Hare International Airport, the original O'Hare field strip was adjacent to a small farming community called Orchard Place, which was taken by the airport.

You would be excused for thinking WTF when you a arrive in Canada and discover that all of the nations airports being with a 'Y'
.  In the early days of broadcast radio the North American market was divided into three geographic zones, each carrying a regional-specific letter to be used in front of a station's callsign.The US stations were assigned W if they were located east of the Mississippi River and K if they were west of the mighty Mississippi.
 All radio stations in Canada got Y. So now you've got Vancouver (YVR) and Ottawa (YOW), Montreal (YUL) etc. Toronto airport has YYZ which is more of a puzzler, and came about because YTO was already assigned as Toronto’s generic region code.
The proposed Sydney West Airport at Badgery's Creek has already been christened as SWZ. And there's even the slightly funny ones, that might send out a chuckle. Has anyone flown to SUX? The airport code for Sioux City, Iowa. Apparently the airport has made fun of its unfortunate name selling a variety of SUX souvenirs. But the more unfortunate ones are these. Russia's Bolshoye Savino Airport is stuck with PEE, while the number 2 version goes to Brazil's Poco De Caldas Airport with POO.
There's even one for FAT, the airport code for Fresno, Calif. 

Some Canadian airport codes :

 YVR - Vancouver
YYZ - Toronto
YUL - Montrèal
YHZ - Halifax
YWG - Winnipeg
YQB - Quèbec
YQT - Thunder Bay
YKK - Kitkatla
YOW - Ottawa
YFO - Flin Flon
YYC - Calgary 

The list of all airports both normal and strange is quite extensive.
For additional fun and curiosity consult :

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