ATL - Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport BOS - Logan International Airport (Boston) CLT - Charlotte Douglas International Airport DFW - Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport DEN - Denver International Airport HNL - Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (Honolulu) IAH - George Bush Intercontinental Airport (Houston) JFK - John F. Kennedy International Airport (New York) LAS - McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas) LAX - Los Angeles International Airport MIA - Miami International Airport MSP - Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport ORD - O'Hare International Airport (Chicago) PHL - Philadelphia International Airport PHX - Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport SEA - Seattle-Tacoma International Airport SFO - San Francisco International Airport SLC - Salt Lake City International Airport MCO - Orlando International Airport BWI - Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport IAD - Washington Dulles International Airport
History of American airport codes
The history of American airport codes is tied to the development of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States. These organizations standardized the system for assigning three-letter airport codes to airports around the world, including those in the United States.
Here’s a brief overview of the history:
Early Development: In the early days of aviation, airports often used two-letter codes that were primarily based on the weather station at the airport. These codes were not standardized and led to confusion.
IATA Codes: In 1930, the International Air Traffic Association (IATA) was established to regulate the airline industry, and they began assigning three-letter codes to airports. These IATA codes became widely used and are still in use today. For example, Los Angeles International Airport became “LAX,” and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York was assigned “JFK.”
FAA Involvement: In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) plays a significant role in airport code assignment. The FAA uses the Location Identifier (LocID) system, which aligns with IATA codes for many airports but also includes smaller airports and private airstrips.
Expansion and Standardization: Over time, the number of airports and airfields increased, leading to the need for more codes. Both IATA and the FAA worked to expand and standardize the system. Many airport codes are derived from the city or airport’s name, making them more intuitive.
Updates and Changes: Airport codes can change due to various reasons, including airport renovations, renaming, or code conflicts. These changes are managed by IATA and the FAA.
Use in Ticketing and Travel: IATA codes are crucial for airline ticketing, baggage handling, and air travel logistics. Travelers use these codes when booking flights and identifying airports.
Online Resources: Today, travelers can easily find airport codes and other information about airports through online resources, travel websites, and airline apps.
In summary, the history of American airport codes is closely tied to the development of international and national aviation organizations. The codes have evolved over time to accommodate the growing number of airports and improve consistency and clarity in air travel.