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ICAO airport code

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Flag of the ICAO
Flag of the ICAO

The ICAO (/ˌˌkˈ/, eye-KAY-oh) airport code or location indicator is a four-letter code designating aerodromes around the world. These codes, as defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization and published in ICAO Document 7910: Location Indicators, are used by air traffic control and airline operations such as flight planning.

ICAO codes are also used to identify other aviation facilities such as weather stations, International Flight Service Stations or Area Control Centers, whether or not they are located at airports. Flight information regions are also identified by a unique ICAO-code.

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  • ✪ Airport codes - all you need to know | AeroVlog [ENG+SUBS]
  • ✪ Official IATA Airlines Codes
  • ✪ Official Airport Codes/ City codes
  • ✪ Airport Codes Decoded | Everyday Questions
  • ✪ IATA and ICAO: Role, Memberships and Importance


Using codes and acronyms instead of full names is more than common. And civil aviation here is no exception. Who would like to say "Tomorrow I am flying to New York city to visit my friend, oh it will be an exquisite journey" if you can just say "Tomorrow I'm flying to NYC to see a pal". Widely used and recognized system of codes assigned to airports was created by International Air Transport Association (or IATA). And it is by far not too sophisticated – it is all about giving an airport a code composed of three Latin alphabet letters and then put it into official IATA registry, updated biannually. It is the code that we can see on a baggage tag attached to our suitcase at an airport, or in flight search engine with the name of place we want to visit. Is there any specific rule on assigning codes? Honestly, no. Not really. IATA attributes them on various motives, but the most common is that three letters are taken from the name of the city served by an airport. Eg. Benito Juarez Airport in Mexico City is MEX, whereas Ferenc List Airport in Budapest is abbreviated as BUD. And in Abu Dhabi we have AUH. Very often an airport receives a code reflecting its proper name. For instance, London Heathrow International Airport is LHR, Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris is CDG and in Tokyo Narita airport is abbreviated as NRT. It also happens that a code resembling the city's name is assigned to just one of local airports and other facilities receive different combinations. A good example is Bangkok, where a BKK code belongs to Suvarnabhumi Airport - bigger one, whereas a smaller one- Don Mueang is DMK. Similarly is in Warsaw. The Polish capital is served by both Chopin Airport with an acronym of WAW, and a smaller facility in Modlin referred to as WMI. Finally, all airports in one municipality may have one common code reflecting the city's name, and in parallel each of them has its proper acronym. That's how it works in New York City, where John F. Kennedy Airport is of course JFK, Newark Liberty – EWR, and LaGuardia has a code of LGA. All three of them are collectively referred to as NYC. But it doesn't end here… many aerodromes inherited their current codes from former names of cities they serve. We have for example Pulkovo Airport in St Petersburg, Russia, with a code of LED from the former city's name "Leningrad", and Ho Chi Minh Airport in Vietnam, with an assigned acronym of SGN that stands from "Saigon". Certainly, we are just presenting you some of multiple examples of IATA codes assignment. If you are curious what code does an airport in place you wish to visit or live have, just visit the IATA webpage and click on a desired city. You can find the link in the film’s description or in the card above. I hope that we explained you a bit how does the magic of airport codes work. Of course, if you still have any questions or doubts on airport codes stuff, please share them in the comments below, if you like the video, please leave a thumb up, and subsribe to our channel, for more aviation related videos. Take care and fly high.



The International Civil Aviation Organization was formed in 1947 under the auspices of the United Nations, and it established Flight Information Regions (FIRs) for controlling air traffic and making airport identification simple and clear.

Code selections in North America were based on existing radio station identifiers. For example, radio stations in Canada were already starting with "C", so it seemed logical to begin Canadian airport identifiers with a C (Cxxx). The United States had many pre-existing airports with established mnemonic codes. Their ICAO codes were formed simply by prepending a K to the existing codes, as half the radio station identifiers in the US began with K. Most ICAO codes outside the US and Canada have a stronger geographical structure.

Most of the rest of the world was classified in a more planned top-down manner. Thus Uxxx referred to the Soviet Union with the second letter denoting the specific region within it, and so forth. Europe had too many locations for only one starting letter, so it was split into Exxx for northern Europe and Lxxx for southern Europe. The second letter was more specific: EGxx was the United Kingdom (G for Great Britain), EDxx was West Germany (D for Deutschland), ETxx was East Germany (the ETxx code was reassigned to military fields after the reunification), LExx was Spain (E for España), LAxx was Albania, and so on. France was designated LFxx, as the counterpart EFxx was the unambiguously northern Finland. (originally OFxx, as the more rigid geographical structure evolved over time; in the beginning, countries usually had "blocks" of codes; for example, Finland still has the country identifier OH- in its aircraft registrations).

ICAO codes vs. IATA codes

ICAO codes are separate and different from IATA codes, which are generally used for airline timetables, reservations, and baggage tags. For example, the IATA code for London's Heathrow Airport is LHR and its ICAO code is EGLL. ICAO codes are commonly seen by passengers and the general public on flight-tracking services such as FlightAware, but passengers will more often see the IATA codes, such as on their tickets and their luggage tags. In general IATA codes are usually derived from the name of the airport or the city it serves, while ICAO codes are distributed by region and country. Far more aerodromes (in the broad sense) have ICAO codes than IATA codes, which are sometimes assigned to railway stations as well.


Map of world regions classified according to the first letter of the ICAO airport code.
Map of world regions classified according to the first letter of the ICAO airport code.
Map of countries classified according to the ICAO airport code prefix. Any correspondence between subnational regions and second letter also indicated. Micronations not labeled individually.
Map of countries classified according to the ICAO airport code prefix. Any correspondence between subnational regions and second letter also indicated. Micronations not labeled individually.

Unlike the IATA codes, the ICAO codes generally have a regional structure and are comprehensive. In general, the first letter is allocated by continent and represents a country or group of countries within that continent. The second letter generally represents a country within that region, and the remaining two are used to identify each airport. The exception to this rule is larger countries that have single-letter country codes, where the remaining three letters identify the airport. In either case, and unlike IATA codes, ICAO codes generally provide geographical context. For example, if one knows that the ICAO code for Heathrow is EGLL, then one can deduce that the airport EGGP is somewhere in the UK (it is Liverpool John Lennon Airport). On the other hand, knowing that the IATA code for Heathrow is LHR does not enable one to deduce the location of the airport LHV with any greater certainty (it is William T. Piper Memorial Airport in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania in the United States).

There are a few exceptions to the regional structure of the ICAO code made for political or administrative reasons. For example, the RAF Mount Pleasant air base in the Falkland Islands is assigned the ICAO code EGYP as though it were in the United Kingdom, but a nearby civilian airport such as Port Stanley Airport is assigned SFAL, consistent with South America. Similarly Saint Pierre and Miquelon is controlled by France, and airports there are assigned LFxx as though they were in Europe. Further, in region L (Southern Europe), all available 2-letter prefixes have been exhausted and thus no additional countries can be added. Thus when Kosovo declared independence, there was no space in the Lxxx codes to accommodate it, so airports in Kosovo were assigned BKxx, grouping Kosovo with Greenland and Iceland.[citation needed]

The letters I, J and X are not currently used as the first letter of any ICAO identifier. In Russia and CIS, Latin letter X (or its Morse/Baudot Cyrillic equivalent Ь) is used to designate government, military and experimental aviation airfields in internal airfield codes similar in structure and purpose to ICAO codes but not used internationally.[1] Q is reserved for international radiocommunications and other non-geographical special uses (see Q code).

In the contiguous United States, Canada and some airports in Mexico, most, but not all, airports have been assigned three-letter IATA codes. These are the same as their ICAO code, but without the leading K, C, or M.; e.g., YEG and CYEG both refer to Edmonton International Airport, Edmonton, Alberta; IAD and KIAD are used for Washington Dulles International Airport, Chantilly, Virginia. These codes are not to be confused with radio or television call signs, even though both countries use four-letter call signs starting with those letters. However, because Alaska, Hawaii, and United States territories have their own 2-letter ICAO prefix (i.e. "PA" for Alaska, "PH" for Hawaii"), the situation there is similar to other smaller countries and the ICAO code of their airports is typically different from its corresponding 3-letter FAA/IATA identifier. For example, Kona International Airport (PHKO vs KOA) and Juneau International Airport (PAJN vs JNU). Notably, the largest gateway to Hawaii, Honolulu International Airport's ICAO code contains the IATA identifier - PHNL (IATA: HNL).[citation needed]

ZZZZ is a pseudo-code, used in flight plans for aerodromes with no ICAO code assigned.

A list of airports, sorted by ICAO code, is available below.

Pseudo ICAO-codes

In small countries like Belgium or the Netherlands, almost all aerodromes have an ICAO code. For bigger countries like the UK or Germany this is not feasible, given the limited number of letter codes. Some countries have addressed this issue by introducing a scheme of sub-ICAO aerodrome codes; France, for example, assigns pseudo-ICAO codes in the style LFddnn, where dd indicates the département while nn is a sequential counter. In the case of France, an amateur organisation, the FFPLUM, was formally named the keeper of these codes.[2]


Prefix code Country
A - Western South Pacific
AG Solomon Islands
AN Nauru
AY Papua New Guinea
B - Greenland, Iceland, and Kosovo (European Alternate)
BG Greenland
BI Iceland
BK Kosovo
C - Canada
C Canada
D – Eastern parts of West Africa and Maghreb
DA Algeria
DB Benin
DF Burkina Faso
DG Ghana
DI Côte d'Ivoire
DN Nigeria
DR Niger
DT Tunisia
DX Togolese Republic
E – Northern Europe
EB Belgium
ED Germany (civil)
EE Estonia
EF Finland
EG United Kingdom (and Crown dependencies)
EH Netherlands
EI Ireland
EK Denmark and the Faroe Islands
EL Luxembourg
EN Norway
EP Poland
ES Sweden
ET Germany (military)
EV Latvia
EY Lithuania
F – Most of Central Africa and Southern Africa, and the Indian Ocean
FA South Africa
FB Botswana
FC Republic of the Congo
FD Swaziland
FE Central African Republic
FG Equatorial Guinea
FH Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
FI Mauritius
FJ British Indian Ocean Territory
FK Cameroon
FL Zambia
FM Comoros, France (Mayotte and Réunion), and Madagascar
FN Angola
FO Gabon
FP São Tomé and Príncipe
FQ Mozambique
FS Seychelles
FT Chad
FV Zimbabwe
FW Malawi
FX Lesotho
FY Namibia
FZ Democratic Republic of the Congo
G – Western parts of West Africa and Maghreb
GA Mali
GB The Gambia
GC Spain (Canary Islands)
GE Spain (Ceuta and Melilla)
GF Sierra Leone
GG Guinea-Bissau
GL Liberia
GM Morocco
GO Senegal
GQ Mauritania
GS Western Sahara
GU Guinea
GV Cape Verde
H – East Africa and Northeast Africa
HA Ethiopia
HB Burundi
HC Somalia (including Somaliland)
HD Djibouti
HE Egypt
HH Eritrea
HK Kenya
HL Libya
HR Rwanda
HS Sudan and South Sudan
HT Tanzania
HU Uganda
K – Contiguous United States
K Contiguous United States
L – Southern Europe, Israel and Turkey
LA Albania
LB Bulgaria
LC Cyprus
LD Croatia
LE Spain (mainland section and Balearic Islands)
LF France (Metropolitan France; including Saint-Pierre and Miquelon)
LG Greece
LH Hungary
LI Italy
LJ Slovenia
LK Czech Republic
LL Israel
LM Malta
LN Monaco
LO Austria
LP Portugal (including the Azores and Madeira)
LQ Bosnia and Herzegovina
LR Romania
LS Switzerland
LT Turkey
LU Moldova
LV Palestinian territories
LW Macedonia
LX Gibraltar
LY Serbia and Montenegro
LZ Slovakia
M – Central America, Mexico and northern/western parts of the Caribbean
MB Turks and Caicos Islands
MD Dominican Republic
MG Guatemala
MH Honduras
MK Jamaica
MM Mexico
MN Nicaragua
MP Panama
MR Costa Rica
MS El Salvador
MT Haiti
MU Cuba
MW Cayman Islands
MY Bahamas
MZ Belize
N – Most of the South Pacific
NC Cook Islands
NF Fiji, Tonga
NG Kiribati (Gilbert Islands), Tuvalu
NI Niue
NL France (Wallis and Futuna)
NS Samoa, United States (American Samoa)
NT France (French Polynesia)
NV Vanuatu
NW France (New Caledonia)
NZ New Zealand, Antarctica
O – Pakistan, Afghanistan and most of Middle East
(excluding Cyprus, Israel, Turkey, and the South Caucasus)
OA Afghanistan
OB Bahrain
OE Saudi Arabia
OI Iran
OJ Jordan and the West Bank
OK Kuwait
OL Lebanon
OM United Arab Emirates
OO Oman
OP Pakistan
OR Iraq
OS Syria
OT Qatar
OY Yemen
P – (Former)American North Pacific and Kiribati
PA US (Alaska) (also PF, PO and PP)
PB US (Baker Island)
PC Kiribati (Canton Airfield, Phoenix Islands)
PF US (Alaska) (also PA, PO and PP)
PG US (Guam, Northern Mariana Islands)
PH US (Hawaii)
PJ US (Johnston Atoll)
PK Marshall Islands
PL Kiribati (Line Islands)
PM US (Midway Island)
PO US (Alaska) (also PA, PF and PP)
PP US (Alaska) (also PA, PF and PO)
PT Federated States of Micronesia, Palau
PW US (Wake Island)
R – Taiwan/South Korea/Philippines and Japan
RC Republic of China (Taiwan)
RJ Japan (Mainland)
RK Republic of Korea (South Korea)
RO Japan (Okinawa)
RP Philippines
S – South America
SA Argentina
SB Brazil (also SD, SI, SJ, SN, SS and SW)
SC Chile (including Easter Island) (also SH)
SD Brazil (also SB, SI, SJ, SN, SS and SW)
SE Ecuador
SF United Kingdom (Falkland Islands)
SG Paraguay
SH Chile (also SC)
SI Brazil (also SB, SD, SJ, SN, SS and SW)
SJ Brazil (also SB, SD, SI, SN, SS and SW)
SK Colombia
SL Bolivia
SM Suriname
SN Brazil (also SB, SD, SI, SJ, SS and SW)
SO France (French Guiana)
SP Peru
SS Brazil (also SB, SD, SI, SJ, SN and SW)
SU Uruguay
SV Venezuela
SW Brazil (also SB, SD, SI, SJ, SN and SS)
SY Guyana
T – Eastern and southern parts of the Caribbean
TA Antigua and Barbuda
TB Barbados
TD Dominica
TF France (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin)
TG Grenada
TI US (U.S. Virgin Islands)
TJ US (Puerto Rico)
TK Saint Kitts and Nevis
TL Saint Lucia
TN Caribbean Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten
TQ UK (Anguilla)
TR UK (Montserrat)
TT Trinidad and Tobago
TU UK (British Virgin Islands)
TV Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
TX UK (Bermuda)
U – Russia and post-Soviet states, excluding the Baltic states and Moldova
U Russia (except UA, UB, UC, UD, UG, UK, UM and UT)
UA Kazakhstan
UB Azerbaijan
UC Kyrgyzstan
UD Armenia
UG Georgia
UK Ukraine
UM Belarus and Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast)
UT Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
V – South Asia (except Afghanistan and Pakistan),
mainland Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Macau
VA India (also VE, VI and VO)
VC Sri Lanka
VD Cambodia
VE India (also VA, VI and VO)
VG Bangladesh
VH Hong Kong
VI India (also VA, VE and VO)
VL Laos
VM Macau
VN Nepal
VO India (also VA, VE and VI)
VQ Bhutan
VR Maldives
VT Thailand
VV Vietnam
VY Myanmar
W – Maritime Southeast Asia (except the Philippines)
WA Indonesia (also WI, WQ and WR)
WB Brunei, Malaysia (East Malaysia)
WI Indonesia (also WA, WQ and WR)
WM Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia)
WP Timor-Leste
WQ Indonesia (also WA, WI and WR)
WR Indonesia (also WA, WI and WQ)
WS Singapore
Y – Australia
Y Australia (including Norfolk Island, Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands)
Z –(Former)Socialist East Asia
Z Mainland China (except ZK and ZM)
ZK North Korea
ZM Mongolia

See also


  1. ^ Index of four-character airfield codes in Russia
  2. ^ "Accueil".

External links

Related websites

This page was last edited on 16 March 2019, at 12:46
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