Cairo International Airport terminal
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

So You Think You Know Airport Codes? Test Your Knowledge. Part Two.

The list is a little more difficult than last time.

So you think you know airport codes? Well, you are about to find out.

This is the second of a series of articles here at The Gate with which you could have some fun at testing your knowledge pertaining to airport codes — and although the most recent article started off with the easiest or best known airport codes, subsequent articles will be increasing in difficulty as they delve into airports which are smaller and lesser known…

So You Think You Know Airport Codes? Test Your Knowledge. Part Two.

Hilton Paris Orly Airport
Photograph ©2008 by Brian Cohen.

…but first, here is a little history about airport codes…

The International Civil Aviation Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations, established by States in 1944 to manage the administration and governance of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, which is also known as the Chicago Convention.

Airport codes designated by the International Civil Aviation Organization are comprised of four letters. The first letter generally designates a specific region; while the second letter may designate a more finite region in many areas.

For example, K is used for the continental United States — such as KATL for Atlanta and KLAS for Las Vegas — but P is used for Alaska, Hawaii, and other territories of the United States in the northern Pacific Ocean. Examples include PANC for Anchorage, PHNL for Honolulu, and PGUM for Guam.

S represents all of South America — for example, SAEZ is Buenos Aires. Y represents all of Australia — for example, YSSY for Sydney.

International Air Transport Association

Atlanta TRACON
Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

The International Air Transport Association represents, leads, and serves the airline industry to improve understanding of the air transport industry among decision makers and increase awareness of the benefits that aviation brings to national and global economies. Advocating for the interests of airlines across the globe, we challenge unreasonable rules and charges, hold regulators and governments to account, and strive for sensible regulation.

Codes for airports and railway stations are comprised of three letters as designated by the International Air Transport Association. The three letters can simply represent the geographic location of the airport or railway station — or they could be based on the history or founding of the airport or railway station.

In the United States and Canada, International Air Transport Association codes are typically based on International Civil Aviation Organization codes. In the United States, the only difference between the codes is the addition of the letter K — for example as mentioned before, ATL for Atlanta is KATL and LAS for Las Vegas is KLAS. In Canada, the only difference between the codes is the addition of the letter C — for example, YYZ for Toronto is CYYZ and YVR for Vancouver is CYVR.

For most other airports around the world, International Civil Aviation Organization codes and International Air Transport Association do not resemble each other — for example:

  • JNB for Johannesburg is FAJS
  • FCO for Rome is LIRF
  • NRT for Tokyo is RJAA
  • EZE for Buenos Aires is SAEZ
  • AKL for Auckland is NZAA

Airport Codes

Review: Hilton Garden Inn Krakow Airport
Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Here are 50 additional airport codes which continue this series of articles:

  1. PIT
  2. CLE
  3. BDL
  4. HOU
  5. SRQ
  6. SAT
  7. MKE
  8. MCI
  9. ANC
  10. BUR
  11. BUF
  12. ONT
  13. PWM
  14. SFB
  15. MYR
  16. BZN
  17. SAV
  18. CMH
  19. IND
  20. TUS
  21. CVG
  22. ALB
  23. PVD
  24. JAC
  25. GEG
  26. PIE
  27. SDF
  28. ORF
  29. MEM
  30. LGB
  31. RIC
  32. PNS
  33. BOI
  34. GRR
  35. ROC
  36. MHT
  37. ITO
  38. TYS
  39. OMA
  40. PGD
  41. ECP
  42. FCA
  43. TUL
  44. SYR
  45. VPS
  46. AVL
  47. FAT
  48. OKC
  49. GSP
  50. ELP

Final Boarding Call

Train from Helsinki Airport
Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

The articles are not meant to be an exhaustive list of airport codes — but they will highlight at least 600 of them.

You could test your knowledge of airport codes off the top of your head…

…or you could simply refer to this article which was posted here at The Gate back on Saturday, June 6, 2020 and find the answers using the tools which are highlighted there — but really: what is the fun in that?

All photographs ©2008, ©2015, and ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

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