MarkChief
Topic Author
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Airports Codes In Canada

Tue May 08, 2007 6:13 am

Sorry if this has been already discussed in another post, but I want to know why airports codes in Canada have no meaning with the origin of the airport (YUL for Montreal, YYZ for Toronto,...) compared to others airports across the world (CDG for Paris Charles de Gaulle, SFO for San Francisco,...)?

Cheers,

Mark
 
psyops
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RE: Airports Codes In Canada

Tue May 08, 2007 6:17 am

Some do, albiet in a less direct fashion.

YMM = Fort McMurray
YLW= Kelowna
YYC=Calgary
YVR=Vancouver
YHZ= Halifax
YOW=Ottawa
YQB = Quebec City
YWG=Winnipeg

Many appear to be meaningless.

Pete
 
bond007
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RE: Airports Codes In Canada

Tue May 08, 2007 6:23 am

Well, it's due to the fact that in Canada (and USA for 99.9%), the IATA airport code is also part of the ICAO code, and since Canada uses ICAO prefix CYxx (and CZxx), it doesn't give much room for imagination.

Your example IATA codes SFO and CDG was maybe a good comparison, since the ICAO codes are KSFO and LFPG respectively ... LFPG having no relation to CDG (as opposed to Canada).


Jimbo

[Edited 2007-05-07 23:28:08]
I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
 
iRISH251
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RE: Airports Codes In Canada

Tue May 08, 2007 7:52 am

Quoting Bond007 (Reply 2):
LFPG having no relation to CDG (as opposed to Canada).

The three Paris airports are

LFPB Le Bourget
LFPG de Gaulle and
LFPO Orly

so there is some connection between the code and the airport name.
 
don81603
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RE: Airports Codes In Canada

Tue May 08, 2007 7:55 am

IIRC, someone once told me that the airport codes were the same as the weather reporting stations loctaed there.

I can't seem to find anything to confirm it, though.
Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
 
reality
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RE: Airports Codes In Canada

Tue May 08, 2007 8:24 am

From http://yahoo.rogers.com/yahoo/answerman/index.jsp?id=am030702


I can explain the "Y", but the "YZ" in the code for Toronto's Pearson Airport still has me a bit puzzled.

The international three-letter naming system arose in the 1930s when air travel (forgive the pun) took off. The system was a good short-hand reference for the world's airports, and with 17,576 possible combinations, there was no immediate risk of running out of codes.

Most airports adopted codes that, basically, made sense. They're either abbreviations for the city (SGN for Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City) or for the name of the airport (JFK or CDG, as you mentioned). Sometimes newer or more obscure airports have arbitrary codes, but for most of them there's at least a shred of logic.

Then we come to Canada. When airport codes were being handed out, certain groups lobbied successfully to reserve initial letters. The U.S. Navy laid claim to all the new "N" codes, "W" and "K" codes were reserved for radio stations, "Q" was reserved for international telecommunications. And Canadian aviation authorities said, "We want some uniformity in our airport codes. Give us a letter we can have all to ourselves." The letter chosen was "Y." So now almost all of Canada's airports have codes beginning with "Y," and almost all of the codes beginning with "Y" are for Canadian airports.

So if we know the codes have to start with Y, these make perfect sense:

YMX: Montreal (Mirabel)
YOW: Ottawa
YQB: Quebec City
YVR: Vancouver
YWG: Winnipeg
YTX: Toronto (Island)
And these are reasonable if you squint a little:

YYC: Calgary International
YEG: Edmonton International
But then that brings us to YUL - Montreal (Dorval) and YYZ - Toronto (Pearson). I have not been able to find explanations for these. It's possible that Dorval had a previous name utilizing the "U" and the "L," though I haven't been able to find anything to support that. I'll make an educated guess and say that the second "Y" in Pearson's code stands for "York" and the "Z" stands for "nothing." It's entirely possible that both of these codes are simply random. Does anyone out there know the real story?
---------------

There are also several other a.net threads on this topic available at search, though no one seems to have the absolutely definitive answer.
 
bond007
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RE: Airports Codes In Canada

Tue May 08, 2007 8:34 am

Quoting Irish251 (Reply 3):
so there is some connection between the code and the airport name.

I meant between the IATA code and the ICAO code.

All Canadian and US IATA codes, can be converted into ICAO codes just by adding C or K respectively.

Most European and other countries have the IATA and ICAO codes being completely different.

....exceptions exist of course.

Due to the sheer number of US airports, the smaller ones (that would never need an ICAO code), are often assigned numbers and letters (e.g. 07FA, MO06), presumably so as not to clash with existing IATA codes (of which there are not enough letters to go around).

...and YUM is Yuma, in the US .... Wink


Jimbo
I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
 
ANother
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RE: Airports Codes In Canada

Tue May 08, 2007 3:55 pm

Quoting Reality (Reply 5):

There are also several other a.net threads on this topic available at search, though no one seems to have the absolutely definitive answer.

Canadian codes were originally two letters - and these two letters were broadcast in morse code to serve as navigation aids. So if you had:

dot dot dot dash (V) dot dash dot (R) - you had Vancouver. Later it was easier just to add a Y ending up with what we have today.

Well, what about Montreal and Toronto, which originally had codes of YZ and UL? Well the answer is in the Morse ...

Consider TO which would be ................ dash (T) dash dash dash (0),
MQ which would be ..............................dash dash (M) dash dash dot dash (Q)

Probably not a problem for an experienced operator, but these were pilots sitting in often noisy cockpits - these codes would have been just too confusing. Once the Morse requirement ended Metro codes (i.e. the CITY code, not the AIRPORT code) were created for Toronto (YTO) and Montreal (YMQ)
 
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Scooter01
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RE: Airports Codes In Canada

Tue May 08, 2007 4:14 pm

Quoting Reality (Reply 5):
YTX: Toronto (Island)

You must mean YTZ. CYTZ is Toronto Island, YTX is the IATA code for Telegraph Creek, also known as CBM5
in British Columbia.

Toronto is served by 4 aiports:
CYYZ -Pearson Intl (Malton)
CYTZ -Toronto Island
CYZD -Downsview
CYKZ -Buttonville


To make things even more confusing, in some cases the IATA code tries to identify the city served by the airport.

In the case of Oslo, Norway, the IATA code is today OSL although the airport's name is Gardermoen, -ENGM- and it was also called GEN when it was the second airport to serve Oslo. The previous airport's name was Fornebu, -ENFB-, (now a giant real estate development area). Fornebu had the IATA code FBU earlier (I still have some luggage-tags from that era) before it became OSL. When they closed old Fornebu and moved all the operations to Gardermoen they also took the IATA code OSL with them on the move.


Scooter   

[Edited 2007-05-08 09:19:55]
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ANCFlyer
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RE: Airports Codes In Canada

Tue May 08, 2007 4:34 pm

Quoting MarkChief (Thread starter):
Sorry if this has been already discussed in another post

Several times in fact. The search engine can be your friend.
RE: Canadian Airport Codes (by Timeair Aug 19 2006 in Civil Aviation)
RE: Airline's Letter Codes/City Codes (by Avion660 Jan 23 2007 in Civil Aviation)
Airport Codes (by AIRBUSRIDER Nov 14 2006 in Civil Aviation)
RE: Airport Codes, Where Did They Come From? (by FlyDeltaJets87 Aug 22 2006 in Civil Aviation)
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