planeophilic
Topic Author
Posts: 96
Joined: Thu May 07, 2015 6:18 pm

Why are some IATA Airport codes named after the city/locale, while others after the Airport name?

Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:34 am

Most airports like DEL- New Delhi, or FRA- Frankfurt are named after their home location.

While some like JFK- John F. Kennedy Intl. Airport, New York, or CDG- Charles De Gaulle (Paris intl.), Paris, are named after the airports the,selves? How is this decided?
IQ 6969- If I wasn't addicted to Frog Porn, I would be perfect.
 
doug_or
Posts: 3188
Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2000 9:55 am

Re: Why are some ICAO Airport codes named after the city/locale, while others after the Airport name?

Sat Feb 18, 2017 3:31 pm

First off, those are IATA codes I believe. ICAO codes are the 4 letter ones (KJFK, EGLL, etc.).

It depends, but often second airports are named after the airport since the city has already been used. Other times another airport may have already snagged the more obvious code.
When in doubt, one B pump off
 
diverted
Posts: 1148
Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 3:17 pm

Re: Why are some ICAO Airport codes named after the city/locale, while others after the Airport name?

Sat Feb 18, 2017 4:05 pm

Want a fun one? Take a look at Canada's airports. Some make sense like YFB. Iqaluit used to be called Frobisher Bay. YOW, Ottawa, YWG Winnipeg, YVR Vancouver. But why is Toronto Pearson YYZ? Montreal Dorval/Trudeau YUL? St John's YYT?
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 259
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Why are some ICAO Airport codes named after the city/locale, while others after the Airport name?

Sat Feb 18, 2017 4:12 pm

You are trying make logic out of something that is inherently arbitrary. RAF base ICAO codes are related to the phone switch network used during the Battle of Britain for example.

GF
 
User avatar
PatrickZ80
Posts: 1649
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:33 am

Re: Why are some ICAO Airport codes named after the city/locale, while others after the Airport name?

Sat Feb 18, 2017 4:48 pm

I guess it's just what's available.

And of course, as mentioned before, you shouldn't mix up IATA codes and ICAO codes. For US airports they're mostly the same except the ICAO code has a K in front of it, but that's not the case in other parts of the world. A famous example is Boston - Ostend (in ICAO: KBOS - EBOS, in IATA BOS - OST).

Sometimes a code is already in use and you got to come up with something else. Take Groningen airport for example, which is GRQ. Sure they would have wanted GRO, but they couldn't because GRO was already assigned to Girona.
 
User avatar
lightsaber
Moderator
Posts: 13132
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2005 10:55 pm

Re: Why are some IATA Airport codes named after the city/locale, while others after the Airport name?

Sat Feb 18, 2017 6:34 pm

I have modified the topic title to IATA.
Please continue discussion on why airports have certain codes.
You only have the first amendment with the 2nd. If you're not going to offend someone with what you say, you don't have the 1st.
 
LH707330
Posts: 1761
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:27 pm

Re: Why are some IATA Airport codes named after the city/locale, while others after the Airport name?

Sat Feb 18, 2017 7:49 pm

Some are pretty easy. If a city has one main airport, it often gets that city code (FRA, MUC, HAM, SFO, LAX, PDX, PEK). If the city has numerous major airports then they have to disambiguate with unique identifiers (CDG/ORY, JFK/LGA, DAL/DFW, etc.). Some also don't make much sense today for historical reasons, e.g. ORD.
 
User avatar
PatrickZ80
Posts: 1649
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:33 am

Re: Why are some IATA Airport codes named after the city/locale, while others after the Airport name?

Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:02 pm

And sometimes the old major airport has the obvious IATA code for the city and they had to come up with something different for the new airport. DAL is Dallas Love Field and therefor Dallas Fort Worth couldn't also be DAL. They had to make it DFW. Same is the case in Houston, where HOU is Houston Hobby airport so Houston Intercontinental had to be something else. That became IAH.

Also some codes stand for a metropolitan area instead of one specific airport. For example LON stands for London and STO stand for Stockholm. Both of these cities got multiple airports, but the code stands for the whole of them together.
 
mwhcvt
Posts: 833
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 2:01 pm

Re: Why are some IATA Airport codes named after the city/locale, while others after the Airport name?

Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:09 am

I’m sure I’ve read in the past but not sure how much truth if any there is to it that in the early days of DXB the management/owners/leaders tried to convince DUB to sell them the right to use that code, as I say this might be some complete BS

another that I’ve always like as it’s just perfect is the codes for Oshkosh Airport which are OSH / KOSH :) that just really is perfect
Must think up a new one soon, slow moving brain trying to get into gear ;)
 
User avatar
Balerit
Posts: 314
Joined: Sun Aug 23, 2015 9:14 am

Re: Why are some IATA Airport codes named after the city/locale, while others after the Airport name?

Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:58 am

All airports in South Africa were named using FA as a prefix and then followed by an abbreviation of the airport name. As an example Cape Town is FACT and the IATA code is CPT while Johannesburg was Jan Smuts - FAJS but was renamed OR Tambo Intl - FAOR, IATA code JNB. When the airport has a persons name then that is used, otherwise it is the city's name that is used.
Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (retired).
 
CyBeRino
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:01 pm

Re: Why are some IATA Airport codes named after the city/locale, while others after the Airport name?

Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:09 am

mwhcvt wrote:
I’m sure I’ve read in the past but not sure how much truth if any there is to it that in the early days of DXB the management/owners/leaders tried to convince DUB to sell them the right to use that code, as I say this might be some complete BS


Although I wouldn't put it past those crazy Arabs to try to do such a thing, I would expect it to be extremely impossible to actually get it done.
 
User avatar
ro1960
Posts: 639
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 8:19 am

Re: Why are some IATA Airport codes named after the city/locale, while others after the Airport name?

Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:07 pm

When cities had just one airport the 3 most obvious letters from the city's name were used. Then with a second field, the airport had to have different names hence a different 3-letter code referring to that name. Of course duplication are not allowed so you have to change one letter like for Groningen as mentioned above. And there are cases like Canada that has their own rules.
As for the "X" in LAX and PDX, it dates back when they transited from 2 to 3 letter codes (LA > LAX, PD > PDX).

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 19 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos