RogueTrader From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 2, posted (11 years 7 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 854 times:
I heard an explanation about this a few years ago. The explanation that I can remember is something like this. The system of 3 letter codes was either started in the USA, or it was in the USA that the system first gained real popularity. So, fairly early on Canada was the first natural extension of this 3 letter code system.
At the time they thought it would be convenient if they could identify all Canadian airports with a Y so that they could keep track of international flights and tickets. The idea was: if it starts with Y: its in Canada, anything else, its in America.
Then, all the other countries had to come in and spoil the whole system.
Yow From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 5, posted (11 years 7 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 787 times:
Actually the C is used for the ICAO codes, not the 3 letter codes of the IATA, or vice versa (I can never remember ).
Also not all Canadian airports begin with a Y. Some begin with an X, Z or W, but these are all smaller, second or third-tier airports. I also believe that many general aviation airports begin with E in Canada and have numbers in them.