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Airport Iata Code Question  
User currently offlineWindowseater From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 51 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 6793 times:

How does the process of assigning/changing an IATA airport code work ? I mean before JFK and CDG, what were the codes for these airports ?

Also, if anyone can shed light on why the code for Delhi Airport is still DEL, and not something like IGI after Indira Gandhi International Airport ?


'To invent an airplane is nothing. To build one is something. To fly is everything.' - Otto Lilienthal
46 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineWDBRR From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 612 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 6767 times:

Alot of airports don't change their codes after a name change,
here are a few I could think of...

SGN = Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
PEK = Beijing (Peking)
SDA = Baghdad (Saddam Airport)


User currently offlineANCFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 6738 times:

Quoting Windowseater (Thread starter):
I mean before JFK

JFK was IDL . . . Idelwild . . .

It's name change is obvious.

I don't know about CDG.

It is my understanding that changing the IATA code is a rare thing. Very rare in fact. Which can explain why Delhi remains DEL.

If codes were allowed to change, every time a politician got an airport named after (at least in the US since there seems to be a propensity to do this here)then we'd be changing the codes . . . time consuming, costly, unnecessary.

Other US airports off the top of my head that changed names or were once military and are now civilian, but never changed codes:

GEG = Spokane, Washington - formerly Geiger Army Air Field
MCO = Orlando, Florida - formerly McCoy Air Force Base
ORD = O'Hare, Chicago, Illinois - formerly Orchard Field Airport

More trivia on Airport Codes:

A lot of places that have an 'X' in the third space previously had two letter codes. When more and more airport started popping up aroud the coutnry and the world, a third letter was obviously necessary. To make things easier, so I'm led to believe, a "X" was added to simplify the change.

LAX, PDX, PHX for example.

[Edited 2006-04-18 13:39:07]

User currently offlineWindowseater From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 51 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 6708 times:

Thanks for the insight, ANCFlyer !  bigthumbsup 

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 2):
If codes were allowed to change, every time a politician got an airport named after (at least in the US since there seems to be a propensity to do this here)then we'd be changing the codes . . . time consuming, costly, unnecessary.

It's equally annoying here in India, where politicians think changing/naming airports or even names of cities will suddenly change things for the better.



'To invent an airplane is nothing. To build one is something. To fly is everything.' - Otto Lilienthal
User currently offlineVunz From Netherlands, joined Jun 2001, 360 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 6692 times:

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 2):
LAX, PDX, PHX for example.

Well, the 'X' in PHX is obvious I guess, not that an extra letter was needed...


User currently offlineANother From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 6679 times:

I think you are confusing Airport and City codes. JFK is not New York - it is New York Kennedy Airport. New York is NYC. DEL, which has just one airport uses this code to describe both the city and the airport. I can't think of any examples where a single airport city has different codes for the two.

As noted codes change very rarely. Even DEN remained DEN (as a city code and the code for the 'main' airport) when the actual airport changed from Stapleton to that very large thing on the prairie (tm) (The rules include "Assigned three-letter location identifiers are considered permanent. They shall not be duplicated. They shall not be changed without strong justification primarily concerning air safety") Doesn't say it doesn't happen - for example the US 'bought' the code BWI from Papua New Guinea.

How does IATA do it? Carefully is probably the best explanation.

[Edited 2006-04-18 14:39:35]

User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9524 posts, RR: 42
Reply 6, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 6669 times:

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 2):
ORD = O'Hare, Chicago, Illinois - formerly Orchard Field Airport

I've always wondered about that. It took me ages to stop associating it with Orlando!


User currently offlineCarduelis From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2001, 1586 posts, RR: 10
Reply 7, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 6669 times:

Others that come to mind are:

CCU - Kolkuta
MAD - Chennai
BOM - Mumbai

DEL used to be NDH (New Delhi) when I was BOAC Cabin Crew.
Likewise MEL was MEB



Per Ardua ad Astra! ........ Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense!
User currently offlineWindowseater From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 51 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 6661 times:

Quoting Carduelis (Reply 7):
MAD - Chennai

Chennai - MAA



'To invent an airplane is nothing. To build one is something. To fly is everything.' - Otto Lilienthal
User currently offlineANother From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 6650 times:

Quoting WDBRR (Reply 1):
SDA = Baghdad (Saddam Airport)

... but BGW is the city code (and the code for Baghdad Al Muthana airport). SDA is the code for Baghdad International Airport.


User currently offlineGr8Circle From Canada, joined Dec 2005, 3116 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 6638 times:

Quoting Windowseater (Thread starter):
Also, if anyone can shed light on why the code for Delhi Airport is still DEL, and not something like IGI after Indira Gandhi International Airport ?

I honestly feel that airport names should reflect the name of the city and not the given name of the airport......so DEL is better than anything indicating 'Indira Gandhi International....." tomorrow, when the Gandhi family falls out of favour with the Indian politicians, the name may change again.... Big grin


User currently offlineTS-IOR From Tunisia, joined Oct 2001, 3488 posts, RR: 6
Reply 11, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 6614 times:

ORY = Paris Orly. The airport is built next to Orly, a suburb in the south of Paris.

CMN = Casablanca Mohamed V. The airport is named after the first Moroccan king, Mohamed Cinq, in french, and the N maybe from this "cinq"  Wink

Here are the IATA codes for major Tunisian airports :

TUN = Tunis-Carthage.
MIR = Monastir-Skanes Habib Bourguiba.
SFA = Sfax Thyna.
DJE = Djerba Mellita-Zarzis.
TOE = Tozeur-Nefta.
TBJ = Tabarka Airport.


User currently offlineFlySSC From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 7415 posts, RR: 57
Reply 12, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 6600 times:

Quoting Windowseater (Thread starter):
How does the process of assigning/changing an IATA airport code work ? I mean before JFK and CDG, what were the codes for these airports ?

You must make the difference between "City Code" and "Airport code".
Usually, the two codes (City & Airports) are the same when only one airport is serving the city. Example : FRA (Frankfurt), MAD (Madrid), LIS, SFO, JNB etc ...

A specific "Airport code" is given when two or several airports serve the same city.
Before CDG ...there was nothing but ORY (for Orly Airport) and LBG (Le Bourget), for serving Paris (City Code PAR).

Same for London (LON) with LHR, LGW, STN etc...
Moscow (MOW) with SVO, VNK, DMO ...
Milan (MIL) with MXP & LIN
Buenos Aires (BUE) with EZE & AEP
Tokyo (TYO) with HND and NRT
Rome (ROM) with FCO & CIA
Rio de Janairo (RIO) with GIG a SDU

etc ...


User currently offlinePanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 8
Reply 13, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 6598 times:

It is a very difficult and time-consuming process to change the airport code for an airport once it has been named.

The last time an airport had its name changed was with the opening of Northwest Arkansas regional airport - XNA.

A lot of people refer to Denver's new airport as DIA; however, the code remains DEN. If the site changes, the old code remains.

There has been talk of trying to change Fresno from FAT (Fresno Air Terminal) to FYI (Fresno Yosemite International). I doubt that will happen.



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User currently offlineFlySSC From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 7415 posts, RR: 57
Reply 14, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 6598 times:

Quoting TS-IOR (Reply 11):
CMN = Casablanca Mohamed V. The airport is named after the first Moroccan king, Mohamed Cinq, in french, and the N maybe from this "cinq"

CMN is the Airport Code for Casablanca Mohamed V Airport.
The city code is CAS, which is also the airport for the old airport serving Casablanca : Anfa Airport.


User currently offlineWN2CMH From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 43 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 6580 times:

I have been trying to think my way around this one and just can't seem to do it.

What about CMH?

Columbus.....?
Columbus Metro...?

No Idea does anyone know?

Thanks,

Nich



Just LUV WN!
User currently offlineTS-IOR From Tunisia, joined Oct 2001, 3488 posts, RR: 6
Reply 16, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 6573 times:

The thread was about IATA airport codes guys...and not city codes  Wink

User currently offlineANother From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 6573 times:

Quoting Carduelis (Reply 7):
CCU - Kolkuta

Actually CCU = Kolkata


User currently offlineFlySSC From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 7415 posts, RR: 57
Reply 18, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 6562 times:

Quoting WN2CMH (Reply 15):
What about CMH?

CMH = Columbus, Port-Columbus Intl, OH - USA
LCK = Columbus, Rickenbacker Intl, OH - USA
OSU = Columbus, Ohio State University Airport, OH - USA


User currently offlineANother From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 6562 times:

Quoting ANother (Reply 17):
What about CMH?

How about Columbus Ohio?

Considering that there are 6 cities in the US (with airports) with the name Columbus you are lucky to get something this close. (For these six cities you have 14 airports) There are also four cities, with 7 airports, with the name Columbia!


User currently offlineRedChili From Norway, joined Jul 2005, 2301 posts, RR: 5
Reply 20, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 6543 times:

A few years ago, both the city code for Oslo and the airport code for Fornebu was OSL, while the airport code for Gardermoen was GEN. Then, the airport code for Fornebu was changed into FBU, and when Fornebu was closed, Gardermoen inherited the OSL airport code.


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User currently offlineFATFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2001, 5821 posts, RR: 28
Reply 21, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 6498 times:

Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 13):
There has been talk of trying to change Fresno from FAT (Fresno Air Terminal) to FYI (Fresno Yosemite International). I doubt that will happen.

The name is now Fresno Yosemite International but the code remains FAT. The city tried to change the airport code years ago and was told there was not a compelling reason to change it.



"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
User currently offlineFlyDeltaJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 1893 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 6494 times:
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Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 2):
A lot of places that have an 'X' in the third space previously had two letter codes. When more and more airport started popping up aroud the coutnry and the world, a third letter was obviously necessary. To make things easier, so I'm led to believe, a "X" was added to simplify the change.

LAX, PDX, PHX for example.

According to my training at Delta on Airport codes the X was supposed to designate port cities.



The only valid opinions are those based in facts
User currently offlineANother From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 6447 times:

Quoting FlyDeltaJets (Reply 22):
X was supposed to designate port cities.

Is that why Phoenix is Sky Harbour?


User currently offlineRossbaku From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 673 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 6398 times:

Baku, Azerbaijan used to be BAK up until about December 2003 when the former president, Heydar Aliyev (or Geydar Aliyev), died and as a mark of respect the airport was changed from Baku Bina International Airport to Heydar Aliyev International Airport, and the code changed to GYD (I suspect for GeYDar Aliyev).

The guy has everything named after him. Whenever someone puts an advert in the newspapers in Azerbaijan they usually say "beside Heydar Aliyev park"...the question is....WHICH ONE?! He's got the airport, conference centre, billboards etc. The man may be dead but his legacy sure lives on!

RossBaku  Silly


25 Lincoln : ...confusing. Can you imagine the hell that would break loose (especially with airline employees, travel agents, etc) if all of a sudden city ABC was
26 FAT5DEP : A fews years back, I was flying around Fresno and I heard over the approach control frequency confusion between another pilot and ATC. The confusion w
27 RIXrat : And then to make your whole day a nightmare, there is ICAO which has put a four digit prefix on airport codes and which do not register on a mouse swe
28 Timz : I guess all the US airline airports had two-letter codes until about 1947, so who knows why some of them got an added X and most didn't.
29 RIXrat : I may be wrong, but the "X" designation was put in showing the airport to be a hub, or a transfer airport.
30 Timz : In 1947, you mean? SFO and LGA and DCA and CHI weren't "transfer airports"?
31 Post contains links Floorrunner : I found an interesting website that explains where a lot of the airport codes came from. It is called Airport ABCs: An Explanation of Airport Identifi
32 Post contains images FATFlyer : Of course then you'd have travel agents thinking they were booking to Clovis, NM. FAT was renamed Fresno-Yosemite International in 1996 (just after A
33 Floorrunner : The CMH for Columbus Municipal Hangar
34 AlexPorter : As for the PHX/LAX/PDX question, I think PHX is an exception to whatever rule or origin regards the use of X, because X actually makes sense in that c
35 ANCFlyer : I don't doubt there's some validity to that. However, why isn't ANC then ANX, it is a major ice free port in Alaska? Or perhaps the former IDL should
36 Bambicruz : the N stands for "Nouaceur" which is the name of city where it is located. and locally it is usually referred to simply as "Nouaceur" instead of "Moh
37 Post contains images ANCFlyer : Bags don't show up in record number now, imagine changing airport codes
38 FAT5DEP : Ha, ha. I have gotten that one before. I forgot about that one. Wow. I am always amused by the marketing that goes into the name. I know it can be go
39 FATFlyer : Technically 2/3 was correct. FAT had customs and could accept international flights, just no FIS so no commercial international flights. Lots of airp
40 Goldenshield : One US airport did recently suceed in changing it's ICAO code from KFCA to KGPI to match it's name of Glacier Park International airport. For customer
41 ANother : The mouse-over shows it as KFCA! Perhaps it was the airport code that changed (which is more common) while the city code remained the same.
42 ERJ170 : Here's one... EWN for New Bern, NC. Used to be called Simmons-Nott New Bern Airport, then New Bern Airport, and now Craven County Regional Airport.. a
43 FlyCMH : One that's bugged me as of late is Kahului, Hawaii (OGG). Where the heck did that code come from? I was informed that there is no derivative of the le
44 Goldenshield : You do realize that while you read my post, you didn't READ it. :P
45 ANother : Urban myth has it that Frank Hogg ran Aloha's baggage sorting at Kahului. Just send it to hOGG!
46 Post contains links Visityyj : It is named after someone - Capt. Bertram J. HOGG: http://www.maui-info.com/ogg.html
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