Seniors Trying to Understand Airport Codes

Feb 3rd, 2010 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel

Airport codes still baffle me.  Our son is an international flight attendant and in his training he had to learn hundreds of the IATA codes.  He shared a few with me and I just had to laugh.  The International Air Transport Association (IATA) 3-letter airport codes uniquely identify individual airports worldwide. They are made up precisely, three letters – numerals are not allowed.  There are at least 10,000 airports around the world with three-letter codes, although the majority of these are simply dirt tracks or fields with no international significance. 

Make good sense.  ORD – Chicago O’Hare. ORD was originally Orchard Field.  GEG: Major Harold Geiger was a noted Army aviator from Spokane, Washington.  MCO: The airport code for Orlando’s air hub does not stand for Mickey Mouse Country as some theorize.  McCoy Air Force Base used to be at this locale.  PDX, LAX, SRQ, and CYS: The airport codes for Portland, Oregon; Los Angeles, California; Sarasota, Florida; and Cheyenne, Wyoming, respectively, do all have one thing in common. The last letter of each of these cities’ three-letter designations is just filler letters that mean nothing at all

YXX is a good one…Abbotsford…I really don’t understand how the Canadian system works.  Here is another one, PWM. I mean I get the P and the M from Portland, Maine, but how do you get the W?  Gorom-Gorom Airport (XGG), Burkina Faso, and in Australia… Wee Waa Airport (WEW), Wagga Wagga Airport (WGA) and Woodie Woodie Airport (WWI).  Tell your friends that you will be landing in Wee Waa or Woodie Woodie and just listen to their response.  If you seriously would like to look up any code in the world, you may do so here http://www.photius.com/wfb2001/airport_codes_alpha.html or here http://www.world-airport-codes.com/.

I think that my mother would say, “Please don’t go there, Jim” with most of these…  

  • Batman Airport (BAL) Turkey
  •  Useless Loop Airport (USL), Australia
  •  Black Tickle Airport (YBI), Canada
  •  Moron Airport (OZP), Spain
  •  Raspberry Strait Airport (RSP), USA 

Take a look at these airport names…

  • Mafia Airport (MFA), Tanzania
  •  Slave Lake Airport (YZH), Canada
  •  Asbestos Hill Airport (YAF), Canada
  •  Desolation Sound Airport (YDS) Canada
  •  Crooked Island Airport (CRI), Canada
  •  Deception Airport (YGY), Canada
  •  Broken Hill Airport (BHQ), Australia
  •  Warroad Airport (RRT), USA
  •  Battle Mountain Airport (BAM), USA
  •  Battle Creek Airport (BTL), USA 

…or just the airports named for animals…

  • Monkey Mia Airport (MJK), Australia
  •  Murnansk Monkey (MMK), Russia 

…and in Canada…

  • Squirrel Cove Airport (YSZ)
  •  Big Trout Airport (YTL)
  •  Snake River Airport (YXF)
  •  Goose Bay Airport (YYR)
  •  Whale Cove Airport (YXN)
  •  Beaver Creek Airport (YXP)
  •  Muskrat Dam Airport (MSA) 

…hey honey, have we arrived in Muskrat yet?  jeb



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