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The ICAO (/ˌaɪˌkeɪˈoʊ/, eye-KAY-oh) airport code or location indicator is a four-letter code designating aerodromes around the world. These codes are 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.

Contents

1 History 2 ICAO codes vs. IATA
IATA
codes 3 Structure 4 Pseudo ICAO-codes 5 Prefixes 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

History[edit] The International Civil Aviation Organization
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
Code
selections in North America
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
Soviet Union
with the second letter denoting the specific region within it, and so forth. Europe
Europe
had too many locations for only one starting letter, so it was split into Exxx for northern Europe
Europe
and Lxxx for southern Europe. The second letter was more specific: EGxx was the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
(G for Great Britain), EDxx was West Germany
West Germany
(D for Deutschland), ETxx was East Germany
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
Finland
still has the country identifier OH- in its aircraft registrations). ICAO codes vs. IATA
IATA
codes[edit] ICAO codes are separate and different from IATA
IATA
codes, which are generally used for airline timetables, reservations, and baggage tags. For example, the IATA
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, though passengers will more often see the IATA
IATA
codes, on their tickets and their luggage tags. In general IATA
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
IATA
codes, and to add to the confusion IATA
IATA
codes are sometimes assigned to railway stations. Structure[edit]

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
ICAO airport code
prefix. Any correspondence between subnational regions and second letter also indicated. Micronations not labeled individually.

Unlike the IATA
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
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
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
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
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
Port Stanley Airport
is assigned SFAL, consistent with South America. Similarly Saint Pierre and Miquelon
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
Kosovo
declared independence, there was no space in the Lxxx codes to accommodate it, so airports in Kosovo
Kosovo
were assigned BKxx, grouping Kosovo
Kosovo
with Greenland
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, 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, Hilo International Airport
Hilo International Airport
(PHTO vs ITO) and Juneau International Airport
Juneau International Airport
(PAJN vs JNU).[citation needed] ZZZZ is a special code which is used when no ICAO code exists for the airport and is normally used in flight plans.[citation needed] A list of airports, sorted by ICAO code, is available below. Pseudo ICAO-codes[edit] 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] Prefixes[edit]

Prefix code Country

A – Western South Pacific

AG Solomon Islands

AN Nauru

AY Papua New Guinea

B – Greenland, Iceland, and Kosovo

BG Greenland

BI Iceland

BK Kosovo

C – Canada

C Canada

D – Eastern parts of West Africa
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
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
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
Indian Ocean
Territory

FK Cameroon

FL Zambia

FM Comoros, France ( Mayotte
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
West Africa
and Maghreb

GA Mali

GB The Gambia

GC Spain (Canary Islands)

GE Spain ( Ceuta
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
East Africa
and Northeast Africa

HA Ethiopia

HB Burundi

HC Somalia
Somalia
(including Somaliland)

HD Djibouti

HE Egypt

HH Eritrea

HK Kenya

HL Libya

HR Rwanda

HS Sudan
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
Portugal
(including the Azores
Azores
and Madeira)

LQ Bosnia and Herzegovina

LR Romania

LS Switzerland

LT Turkey

LU Moldova

LV Palestinian territories

LW Macedonia

LX Gibraltar

LY Serbia
Serbia
and Montenegro

LZ Slovakia

M – Central America, Mexico
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
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
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
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 – Eastern North Pacific

PA USA (Alaska) (also PF, PO and PP)

PB USA (Baker Island)

PC Kiribati
Kiribati
(Canton Airfield, Phoenix Islands)

PF USA (Alaska) (also PA, PO and PP)

PG USA (Guam, Northern Mariana Islands)

PH USA (Hawaii)

PJ USA (Johnston Atoll)

PK Marshall Islands

PL Kiribati
Kiribati
(Line Islands)

PM USA (Midway Island)

PO USA (Alaska) (also PA, PF and PP)

PP USA (Alaska) (also PA, PF and PO)

PT Federated States of Micronesia, Palau

PW USA (Wake Island)

R – Taiwan/South Korea/ Philippines
Philippines
and Japan

RC Republic of China (Taiwan)

RJ Japan (Mainland)

RK Republic of Korea
Republic of Korea
(South Korea)

RO Japan (Okinawa)

RP Philippines

S – South America

SA Argentina

SB Brazil
Brazil
(also SD, SI, SJ, SN, SS and SW)

SC Chile
Chile
(including Easter Island) (also SH)

SD Brazil
Brazil
(also SB, SI, SJ, SN, SS and SW)

SE Ecuador

SF United Kingdom
United Kingdom
(Falkland Islands)

SG Paraguay

SH Chile
Chile
(also SC)

SI Brazil
Brazil
(also SB, SD, SJ, SN, SS and SW)

SJ Brazil
Brazil
(also SB, SD, SI, SN, SS and SW)

SK Colombia

SL Bolivia

SM Suriname

SN Brazil
Brazil
(also SB, SD, SI, SJ, SS and SW)

SO France (French Guiana)

SP Peru

SS Brazil
Brazil
(also SB, SD, SI, SJ, SN and SW)

SU Uruguay

SV Venezuela

SW Brazil
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 USA (U.S. Virgin Islands)

TJ USA (Puerto Rico)

TK Saint Kitts and Nevis

TL Saint Lucia

TN Caribbean
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
Belarus
and Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast)

UT Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan

V – South Asia
South Asia
(except Afghanistan
Afghanistan
and Pakistan), mainland Southeast Asia, Hong Kong
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
Southeast Asia
(except the Philippines)

WA Indonesia
Indonesia
(also WI, WQ and WR)

WB Brunei, Malaysia
Malaysia
(East Malaysia)

WI Indonesia
Indonesia
(also WA, WQ and WR)

WM Malaysia
Malaysia
(Peninsular Malaysia)

WP Timor-Leste

WQ Indonesia
Indonesia
(also WA, WI and WR)

WR Indonesia
Indonesia
(also WA, WI and WQ)

WS Singapore

Y – Australia

Y Australia (including Norfolk Island, Christmas Island
Christmas Island
and Cocos (Keeling) Islands)

Z – East Asia
East Asia
(excluding Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, South Korea and Taiwan)

Z Mainland China
Mainland China
(except ZK and ZM)

ZK North Korea

ZM Mongolia

See also[edit]

Airspace class Class A airport Geocode IATA
IATA
airport code ICAO airline designators – A list of codes List of airports by IATA
IATA
and ICAO code International Board for Research into Air Crash Events

References[edit]

^ Index of four-character airfield codes in Russia ^ "Accueil". basulm.ffplum.info. 

External links[edit] Related websites

ICAO On-line Publications Purchasing (official site) International Civil Aviation Organization
International Civil Aviation Organization
(official site) Airport IATA/ICAO Designator / Code
Code
Database Search (from Aviation Codes Central Web Site – Regular Updates) "Airport ABCs: An Explanation of Airport Identifier Codes". Air Line Pilot. Air Line Pilots Association. December 1994. 

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