Windowseater
Topic Author
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Airport Iata Code Question

Tue Apr 18, 2006 7:11 pm

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 ?
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WDBRR
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Tue Apr 18, 2006 7:55 pm

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)
 
ANCFlyer
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:33 pm

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]
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Windowseater
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:55 pm

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.
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vunz
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:23 pm

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...
 
ANother
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:34 pm

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]
 
David L
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:40 pm

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!
 
carduelis
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:41 pm

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
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Windowseater
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:43 pm

Quoting Carduelis (Reply 7):
MAD - Chennai

Chennai - MAA
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ANother
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:49 pm

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.
 
Gr8Circle
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:59 pm

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
 
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TS-IOR
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Tue Apr 18, 2006 10:27 pm

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.
 
FlySSC
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Tue Apr 18, 2006 10:44 pm

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 ...
 
PanAm747
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Tue Apr 18, 2006 10:45 pm

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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FlySSC
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Tue Apr 18, 2006 10:47 pm

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.
 
WN2CMH
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Tue Apr 18, 2006 10:57 pm

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!
 
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TS-IOR
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Tue Apr 18, 2006 11:04 pm

The thread was about IATA airport codes guys...and not city codes  Wink
 
ANother
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Tue Apr 18, 2006 11:04 pm

Quoting Carduelis (Reply 7):
CCU - Kolkuta

Actually CCU = Kolkata
 
FlySSC
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Tue Apr 18, 2006 11:11 pm

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
 
ANother
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Tue Apr 18, 2006 11:11 pm

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!
 
RedChili
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Tue Apr 18, 2006 11:18 pm

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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FATFlyer
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Wed Apr 19, 2006 12:07 am

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.
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FlyDeltaJets
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Wed Apr 19, 2006 12:14 am

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
 
ANother
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Wed Apr 19, 2006 2:02 am

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

Is that why Phoenix is Sky Harbour?
 
rossbaku
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Wed Apr 19, 2006 2:43 am

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
 
lincoln
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Wed Apr 19, 2006 3:18 am

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 2):
time consuming, costly, unnecessary

...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 now known as city LMN?

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 airport changed its name to Fresno Yosemite International and was really pushing the FYI acronym not too long before the last time I flew through there (1997? 1998?)... They were trying to get the airport code changed as well, but I beleive the powers that be (FAA?) killed the idea, as well they should have.
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FAT5DEP
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Wed Apr 19, 2006 5:53 am

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 was over 'Fresno-Yosemite' (KFAT) and 'Mariposa-Yosemite' (KMPI) which is 46 NM north of Fresno. The pilot wasn't clear and the controller was trying to figure out which airport the pilot was flying to.

It wasn't a big problem but it does highlight the fact that similiar names in close proximity to eachother can cause confusion and possibly danger if it is a busy day.

I always thought Fresno-Clovis International would have been appropriate and I do miss plain ole Fresno Air Terminal.
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RIXrat
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Wed Apr 19, 2006 6:43 am

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 sweep on the posting. These codes are becoming more and more prevalent on European sites.
 
timz
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Wed Apr 19, 2006 6:46 am

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.

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.
 
RIXrat
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Wed Apr 19, 2006 7:13 am

I may be wrong, but the "X" designation was put in showing the airport to be a hub, or a transfer airport.
 
timz
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Wed Apr 19, 2006 7:48 am

Quoting RIXrat (Reply 29):
I may be wrong, but the "X" designation was put in showing the airport to be a hub, or a transfer airport.

In 1947, you mean? SFO and LGA and DCA and CHI weren't "transfer airports"?
 
floorrunner
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Wed Apr 19, 2006 8:44 am

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 Identifier Codes and its address is. http://www.skygod.com/asstd/abc.html I hope this is useful to all of you.

Patrick
 
FATFlyer
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:22 am

Quoting FAT5DEP (Reply 26):
I always thought Fresno-Clovis International would have been appropriate

Of course then you'd have travel agents thinking they were booking to Clovis, NM.  Wink

Quoting FAT5DEP (Reply 26):
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 was over 'Fresno-Yosemite' (KFAT) and 'Mariposa-Yosemite' (KMPI) which is 46 NM north of Fresno.

FAT was renamed Fresno-Yosemite International in 1996 (just after AM attempted to start FAT flights). IIRC, at the time there were also rumors that Modesto or Merced were thinking about adding the word Yosemite to their names.

The main reason for the FAT name change came from a 1995 survey that found most visitors to Yosemite who had flown were booked into LAX or SFO. They or their travel agents hadn't realized there was closer service.

FYI, Mammoth Lakes Airport changed to Mammoth Yosemite Airport in 2000 or 2001.

Quoting FAT5DEP (Reply 26):
It wasn't a big problem but it does highlight the fact that similiar names in close proximity to eachother can cause confusion and possibly danger if it is a busy day.

Think of the Lake Tahoe area. You have surrounding the lake:
KTVL Lake Tahoe Airport
KRNO Reno/Tahoe International Airport
KTRK Truckee-Tahoe Airport
KMEV Minden-Tahoe Airport
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
 
floorrunner
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:26 am

Quoting WN2CMH (Reply 15):
What about CMH?

The CMH for Columbus Municipal Hangar
 
AlexPorter
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:30 am

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 case. The same could be for JAX.
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ANCFlyer
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Wed Apr 19, 2006 12:58 pm

Quoting FlyDeltaJets (Reply 22):
According to my training at Delta on Airport codes the X was supposed to designate port cities.

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 have been IDX? Houston might have been HOX or IAX? Seattle/Tacoma is obviously a huge port - it isn't SEX? The Port of Oakland . . . OAX instead of OAK?

Quoting RIXrat (Reply 29):
but the "X" designation was put in showing the airport to be a hub,

And before HP hubbed PHX, how would you explain the "X"?

BuchAirports book, the 1990 edition, is my source for the info on the mysterious "X".
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bambicruz
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:36 pm

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

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 "Mohamed V" (much like Roissy is referred to instead of Charles de Gaulle)
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ANCFlyer
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:51 pm

Quoting Lincoln (Reply 25):
Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 2):
time consuming, costly, unnecessary

...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 now known as city LMN?

Bags don't show up in record number now, imagine changing airport codes  crazy 
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FAT5DEP
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Thu Apr 20, 2006 12:24 am

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 32):
Of course then you'd have travel agents thinking they were booking to Clovis, NM.

Ha, ha. I have gotten that one before.

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 32):
FYI, Mammoth Lakes Airport changed to Mammoth Yosemite Airport in 2000 or 2001.

I forgot about that one.

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 32):
Think of the Lake Tahoe area. You have surrounding the lake:
KTVL Lake Tahoe Airport
KRNO Reno/Tahoe International Airport
KTRK Truckee-Tahoe Airport
KMEV Minden-Tahoe Airport

Wow. I am always amused by the marketing that goes into the name. I know it can be good and is done to attract travelers but with the case of FAT, before Mexicana arrived a third of the airport name was correct. I am curious if someone who hasn't been to FAT before, arrived at the airport and saw the flat expanse of the San Joaquin Valley and wondered where the big majestic Yosemite valley is?

I remember when I was a ramper for DL at FAT and showed up for work one morning to see a bag that came in on the SLC-FAT flight from the night before with a FAI (Fairbanks, AK) tag on it. Poor guy.
Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.
 
FATFlyer
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Thu Apr 20, 2006 1:53 am

Quoting FAT5DEP (Reply 38):
but with the case of FAT, before Mexicana arrived a third of the airport name was correct.

Technically 2/3 was correct. FAT had customs and could accept international flights, just no FIS so no commercial international flights.

Quoting FAT5DEP (Reply 38):
I am curious if someone who hasn't been to FAT before, arrived at the airport and saw the flat expanse of the San Joaquin Valley and wondered where the big majestic Yosemite valley is?

Lots of airport name marketing comes from the same type of proximity.

FAT is roughly 60 miles from the Yosemite gate.

Around the US a couple of others I can think of:
*Northwest Chicagoland International Airport at Rockford (aka Chicago/Rockford International Airport (RFD) ) which is 67 miles from O'Hare
*Cody Wy is now Yellowstone Regional Airport and about 60 miles from Yellowstone
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
 
Goldenshield
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Thu Apr 20, 2006 2:08 am

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 service reasons, though, the IATA code has still remained FCA for ease of use, and the VOR located nearby has retained FCA.
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ANother
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Thu Apr 20, 2006 3:18 am

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 40):
changing it's ICAO code from KFCA to KGPI

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.
 
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ERJ170
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Thu Apr 20, 2006 3:24 am

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..

and if you ask me, they need to change the name again to Crystal Coast Regional Airport or Eastern North Carolina Regional Airport since they serve a 5 county population.. but I won't beetch and moan about that...
Aiming High and going far..
 
flyCMH
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Thu Apr 20, 2006 4:49 am

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 letter "G" in the native Hawaiian alphabet, and it's not named after anyone that has such letters in their names. So what gives, why is it OGG?
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Goldenshield
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Thu Apr 20, 2006 4:49 am

Quoting ANother (Reply 41):
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.

You do realize that while you read my post, you didn't READ it. :P
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ANother
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Thu Apr 20, 2006 4:53 am

Quoting FlyCMH (Reply 43):
So what gives, why is it OGG?

Urban myth has it that Frank Hogg ran Aloha's baggage sorting at Kahului. Just send it to hOGG!
 
visityyj
Posts: 380
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RE: Airport Iata Code Question

Thu Apr 20, 2006 5:35 am

Quoting FlyCMH (Reply 43):
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 letter "G" in the native Hawaiian alphabet, and it's not named after anyone that has such letters in their names. So what gives, why is it OGG?

It is named after someone - Capt. Bertram J. HOGG: http://www.maui-info.com/ogg.html

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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