SilverWing
Topic Author
Posts: 91
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2000 7:53 pm

Canadian Airport-codes

Thu Feb 15, 2001 5:41 pm

This might be a silly question, but I post it nevertheless:
Why do all Canadian airport-codes start with Y? Like YVR for Vancouver? Can anybody explain? Thanks a lot!
 
firefly_cyhz
Posts: 164
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2000 9:21 am

RE: Canadian Airport-codes

Thu Feb 15, 2001 6:55 pm

Not all airport codes start with Y. I believe that the Y in the airport codes means the airport has a METAR and a TAF. If someone were asking and there is a Y then it mean yes (Y) there is. I am not sure if that is all correct but that is what I was told.
 
The Ticketor
Posts: 427
Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2000 9:02 pm

RE: Canadian Airport-codes

Thu Feb 15, 2001 7:29 pm

It has nothing to do with METAR being available. He is talking about the IATA thre-letter codes, and yes, as far as I know all Canadian airports start with Y. I have no idea why, but I have thought about it too. Makes it easy to know where in the world the airport is ocated though...
 
SilverWing
Topic Author
Posts: 91
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2000 7:53 pm

RE: Canadian Airport-codes

Thu Feb 15, 2001 8:12 pm

Hi Ticketor,
yes, exactly, I was talking about the IATA-codes. But thanks for your post, now I know that my question wasn´t that silly, right?  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
 
The Ticketor
Posts: 427
Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2000 9:02 pm

RE: Canadian Airport-codes

Thu Feb 15, 2001 8:28 pm

Not silly at all, my friend. I work in the business (airline employee) and I'm always interested in finding not only how things are, but also WHY, but this I don't know.
I don't know of any other country that has codes with a common first letter.
 
BostonBeau
Posts: 480
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:55 pm

RE: Canadian Airport-codes

Thu Feb 15, 2001 9:51 pm

I wonder if a study has ever been made on whether having a non-mnemonic airport code increases the rate of mis-directed luggage? An airport code like BOS, SFO, or DFW is hard to make a mistake on, but codes that do not suggest the city the airport serves (such as YYZ, YUL, IAD, RSW, etc.) might cause a problem for the guy doing curbside baggage checking.
 
AC_A340
Posts: 2196
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 1999 12:01 pm

RE: Canadian Airport-codes

Thu Feb 15, 2001 10:45 pm

A while ago somebody posted a really good explanation that had something to do with the railways. And how that legacy will live on now. But I can't remember it.
 
slawko
Posts: 3742
Joined: Tue May 25, 1999 7:40 am

RE: Canadian Airport-codes

Thu Feb 15, 2001 10:51 pm

It is a throw back from the rail road days....for some reason each city was designated a Y code...YVR Vancouver, YTO Toronto, YML Montreal.....when airports came around it was easier to just use the existing system rather then develop a new code for every city....
"Clive Beddoe says he favours competition, but his actions do not support that idea." Robert Milton - CEO Air Canada
 
Guest

RE: Canadian Airport-codes

Fri Feb 16, 2001 1:20 am

Not all airport codes in Canada start with a Y. They are just as likely to start with a C as well. The reason why though escapes me at the moment.
 
northstardc4m
Posts: 2724
Joined: Fri Apr 28, 2000 11:23 am

RE: Canadian Airport-codes

Fri Feb 16, 2001 5:09 am

Ummm actually 3 letter Canadian codes can start with X Y or Z
Bathurst NB (ZBF) springs to mind as a Z designator, but Y is by far the most prevalent, and FYI, its not just airports that have designators, VORs have the same series.

for the 4 letter codes, all Canadian airports start with C
CYYZ, CYYC, CYVR, CZBF, and so on, just like all US airports are Kxxx designated. However there are certain requirements for an airport to receive a Cxxx code, all of which are satisfied anyways for the airport to be opened to commercial traffic, if the airport doesnt meet these requirements it gets a random alpha-numeric designator something like 00BV.

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
 
Guest

RE: Canadian Airport-codes

Fri Feb 16, 2001 6:32 am

The Ticketor: I am sorry to contradict you, but you are wrong. Not all airports in Canada have a CY-- designator, it could be CZ-- or CX--

The Y as the second letter designate that a VOR is assossiated with the airport, it's in the A.I.P (Aeronautical Information Publication) just look in it. BTW CYUL is an airport and YUL is a VOR so be careful not to forget the C at the begining
 
polaris
Posts: 1128
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2000 7:03 am

RE: Canadian Airport-codes

Fri Feb 16, 2001 6:42 am

In the early 1900s, in order to organize global radio communication, the International Telegraph Union (now the International Telecommunication Union) assigned radio communication prefixes to each country. These are called callsign blocks. (This is the same as each country being assigned its aircraft registration prefixes.)

Canada was assigned the blocks CF to CK, CY to CZ, VA to VG, VO, VX to VY, XJ to XO. Canada reserved CY to CZ for radio communication in transportation. Airport radio communication received their callsigns from this prefix block - therefore: CYYZ, CYUL, CYVR, CZBF, etc. Drop the C and you have the airport codes starting with Y or Z.

The Canadians on the site will recognize the CF to CK block as being reserved for commercial radio/TV - for example: CKOI, CFCF, CKVR, CITV, CHEZ, etc.
 
WorldVoyager
Posts: 373
Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2000 12:49 pm

RE: Canadian Airport-codes

Fri Feb 16, 2001 7:05 am

Isn't CX-- for train stations and CY-- for airports?
 
FLY 8
Posts: 329
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2000 5:48 am

RE: Canadian Airport-codes

Fri Feb 16, 2001 7:23 am

First there are ICAO codes and SITA codes!

In the States they are almost the same! Like SFO id the SITA code for San Francisco and KSFO is the ICAO code!

In Europe it´s different and more difficult, like everything in Europe!

For example the ICAO code for Amsterdam Schipol is EHAM, and the SITA code is AMS.

LOWW - VIE - Vienna
LOWI - INN - Innsbruck

EDDF - FRA - Frankfurt
EDDM - MUC - Munich
EDDH - HAM - Hamburg

yes i can handle that alone. - - -famous last words
 
LH423
Posts: 5868
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 1999 6:27 am

RE: Canadian Airport-codes

Fri Feb 16, 2001 7:38 am

FLY 8: Yes things are a little harder in Europe. For some reason, Northern Europe is given E-designators, while Central and Southern Europe is given L-designators. Then, the second letter is to distinguish country. So Vienna, Austria is LOWW, the "O" is for Austria (Österreich). Amsterdam, the Netherlands is EHAM, H for Holland, and the AM now makes sense. Frankfurt, is EDDF, D for Deutschland, and I think Paris-de Gaulle is LFPG. Hope is explains a little.

LH423
« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
 
gibberish
Posts: 411
Joined: Mon Sep 11, 2000 5:35 pm

RE: Canadian Airport-codes

Fri Feb 16, 2001 8:00 am

Addition to FLY 8 and LH423:

Yes, it does make sense! Also applies for Switzerland:

LSZH - Zurich (ZRH)
LSGG - Geneva (GVA)

S = Switzerland, duh!

Although ZH is related with the Canton abbreviation (like CA - California) GG does not stand for Geneva, it would have to be GE. But we all know the Swiss - have to make things even more complicated than they already are!

fly gibberish jets
 
FLY 8
Posts: 329
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2000 5:48 am

RE: Canadian Airport-codes

Fri Feb 16, 2001 8:05 am

Nothing is more complicated like Austria!!

When we fly to Zürich ZRH or LSZH or whatever..., we have Basel BSL as the first alternate! The ICAO code is LFSB!

Gibberish, the airport of Basel is on french ground, isn´t it? That´s why an swiss airport has LF..!

Benjamin!
yes i can handle that alone. - - -famous last words
 
runway
Posts: 65
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RE: Canadian Airport-codes

Fri Feb 16, 2001 1:58 pm

CYXX-Airport
YXX-VOR
XX-NDB

Regards
Runway
 
The Ticketor
Posts: 427
Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2000 9:02 pm

Nicolaki

Fri Feb 16, 2001 8:43 pm

Sorry if I was unclear or if I misunderstood, but I was talking about IATA three-letter airportcodes, not anything else. Let's not confuse the four-letter codes and three-letter codes. YUL is most surely a IATA thre-letter code for Dorval AIRPORT. I don't think I'm right, I infact KNOW that I'm right. When you travel to Dorval and they put a YUL tag on your bag, do you think they've tagged it to a VOR?? I think not.

There might be other Canadian airports with IATA THRE-LETTER CODES that do not start with Y, but I haven't heard of any.
 
gibberish
Posts: 411
Joined: Mon Sep 11, 2000 5:35 pm

RE: Canadian Airport-codes

Fri Feb 16, 2001 8:50 pm

Yes, FLY 8, Basel (BSL/EAP) is in fact on French territory. But there are French and Swiss customs. Freiburg (Germany) also makes use of it. It is well known as EuroAirport (therefor EAP).

fly gibberish jets
 
AC183
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Joined: Tue Jul 06, 1999 10:52 am

RE: Canadian Airport-codes

Sat Feb 17, 2001 12:28 am

There are a few airports that don't start with a Y-designator, but they are only a few exceptions. Boundary Bay is ZBB if memory serves me corrrect, for example.

The X** designation is used for railway station codes in Canada.
 
Guest

RE: Canadian Airport-codes

Sat Feb 17, 2001 4:00 am

The Ticketor: It depends from what perspective you see things. From a PAX perspective CYUL and YUL are both the airport, while for a pilot CYUL is the airport and YUL is the VOR, so which one are you talking about?

Nicolas
 
polaris
Posts: 1128
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2000 7:03 am

RE: Canadian Airport-codes

Sat Feb 17, 2001 5:19 am

The three- and four-letter codes work in conjunction with each other. They are all based on the radio frequency callsign as I mentioned earlier.

Airports use radio frequencies with the callsigns CY** or CZ**. Drop the C and you have the IATA three-letter designation. This is where Cdn airports get their Y** or Z** designation.

Thanks, AC183, for clarifying the railway codes. That means that the XJ* to XO* prefixes (as I mentioned in an earlier post) are reserved for railway radio communication callsigns.

Have a great week-end.