Bill's  Radio Site
formerly the THE MARITIMES SCANNING SITE

Identifying Places in Aeronautical Scanning:
Codes and Abbreviations for Airports, Radio Aids and Reporting Points

Last updated January 23, 2017

 

This page will decipher the format for the identification of places in the world of aeronautical radio and will list some of the ones commonly encountered by a scanner listener in the Maritimes of Canada.   There is some unavoidable overlap with other pages on my site in which the same topic must be at least mentioned.

Whether or not you use a scanner or are more interested in perusing airline schedules or using FlightAware or Planefinder, you will inevitably want to know how places are coded or abbreviated.  When I say "places" I am including airports, radio aids (that by necessity have a transmitter location) and as well reporting points that are geographical coordinates without any physical presence.
 
Who assigns codes?   
 
The ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) assigns or coordinates location codes around the world.    This United Nations specialty agency based in Montreal sets the standards within the official side of air transportation and air traffic control.  It sets the format and in the case of airports sets the prefixes for various regions and countries.      ICAO codes are not something used by the usual member of the travelling public.     IATA (International Air Transportation Association), also based in Montreal for ease of liaison with ICAO, is  an industry organization made up of the major airlines of the world.   This organizations sets the abbreviations or codes used by the general population for airports and airlines.     In addition to these organizations, the national governments do provide airport designators in cases where an airport is not considered important enough for international standard coding.
 
AIRPORT CODES
 
Airports are identified in two main ways, with a third variation as well.   
 
   ICAO 4-letter Airport Codes
 
Region of the World* First Letter Example: E = Northern Europe
Country* Second Letter Example: P = Poland
Individual Airport Third and Fourth Letters Example: WA = Warsaw
Total All 4 letters Example: EPWA
*Note that three countries (USA, Canada and Australia) are considered to be regions and therefore the second, third an fourth letters are used to denote the individual airport.  
 
In the official world of air traffic control and administration, airports are identified by ICAO codes of four letters.    These codes are the ones that are used on air tracking websites such as FlightAware and planefinder.  Many of the small airports in some countries such as the USA and Canada do not have one of these codes.   
 

As a necessary aside, you should know that there are many small airports that do not have one of these international codes.  This is certainly true in Canada and the United States in which small airports have alternate official identifications.  In Canada these are made up of three letters beginning with the letter C followed by a single digit.  In the USA these designations are made up of various combinations of state 2-letter abbreviations plus a number of one or two digits.   The letters or the digits can come first.   The US system of LID's (local identifications) is somewhat complicated and is beyond the scope of this page.  These designators are assigned by the respective federal governments.   There should not be any duplication of these within the Canada/United States jurisdictions.

Local examples are CCQ3 Debert, NS and CCW4 Stanley, NS

 
 
The ICAO has divided the world into regions, each with its own first letter, and within each region the individual countries or territories have the second letter.   For example first letter E is for northern Europe, and within that region, P is for Poland, so that any EPxx four letter code is a Polish one, and the best example is EPWA for Warsaw Frederick Chopin Airport.
 
In examining the list there will be seen some blending together geographically of the regions such as M and T that do seem to mix together.     There is no duplication anywhere in the world.  In the region and country list that follows you will note that Canada, the USA and Australia have first letters all to themselves: C, K and Y respectively.    This means that while other countries must designate individual airports with the remaining two letters of the four, these three countries have the use of the last three.   
 
You will also note that China, Russia, Brazil and Indonesia have more than one second letter to choose from in a situation that is not quite as good as Canada's but certainly better than countries in general.   I am not aware of how these inequities came about.   One can only wonder how France and the United Kingdom received the normal restrictive assignment and Canada with fewer people received that single letter to itself, but it is obvious that geographic extent played a role.     You might further note that Germany has both ED and ET but in this case the ET is reserved for military airports, and possibly only for those under foreign control such as the well known Ramstein Air Base.
 
In designating individual airports within countries there does seem to be a predominant trend to relate to the airport or town name.  The Polish example above is a good example.   Another is MUHG for Holguin, Cuba (MU denotes Cuba).     Less obvious are EGLL for London Heathrow and EGKK for London Gatwick.    In fact only the American four letter codes are in general very descriptive or relevant, for reasons explained later.
 
ICAO AIRPORT CODE SYSTEM
REGION COUNTRY CODE AND COUNTRY COMMENT
PACIFIC SW AG SOLOMON ISLANDS  
PACIFIC SW AN NAURU  
PACIFIC SW AY PAPUA NEW GUINEA  
N ATLANTIC BG GREENLAND  Not an independent country
N ATLANTIC BI ICELAND  
N ATLANTIC BK KOSOVO  Not universally recognized as a country. This code assigned due to European codes having run out.
CANADA
C
CANADA With rare exceptions only uses CY
AFRICA N DA ALGERIA  
AFRICA N DB BENIN  
AFRICA N DF BURKINA FASO  
AFRICA N DG GHANA  
AFRICA N DI COTE D'IVOIRE  
AFRICA N DN NIGERIA  
AFRICA N DR NIGER  
AFRICA N DT TUNISIA  
AFRICA N DX TOGO  
EUROPE N EB BELGIUM  
EUROPE N ED GERMANY  
EUROPE N EE ESTONIA  
EUROPE N EF FINLAND  
EUROPE N EG UK   
EUROPE N EH NETHERLANDS  
EUROPE N EI IRELAND  
EUROPE N EK DENMARK  
EUROPE N EL LUXEMBOURG  
EUROPE N EN NORWAY  
EUROPE N EP POLAND  
EUROPE N ES SWEDEN  
EUROPE N ET  GERMANY MILITARY  
EUROPE N EV LATVIA  
EUROPE N EY LITHUANIA  
AFRICA CS FA SOUTH AFRICA  
AFRICA CS FB BOTSWANA  
AFRICA CS FC CONGO (br)  
AFRICA CS FD SWAZILAND  
AFRICA CS FE CENTRAL AFRICAN REP  
AFRICA CS FG EQUATORIAL GUINEA  
AFRICA CS FH ASCENSION  Not an independent country
AFRICA CS FI MAURITIUS  
AFRICA CS FJ BR INDIAN OCEAN TERR  Not an independent country
AFRICA CS FK CAMEROON  
AFRICA CS FL ZAMBIA  
AFRICA CS FM COMOROS AND MADAGASCAR ETC  
AFRICA CS FN ANGOLA  
AFRICA CS FO GABON  
AFRICA CS FP SAO TOME ET PRINCIPE  
AFRICA CS FQ MOZAMBIQUE  
AFRICA CS FS SEYCHELLES  
AFRICA CS FT CHAD  
AFRICA CS FV ZIMBABWE  
AFRICA CS FW MALAWI  
AFRICA CS FX LESOTHO  
AFRICA CS FY NAMIBIA  
AFRICA CS FZ CONGO dr  
AFRICA W GA MALI  
AFRICA W GB GAMBIA  
AFRICA W GC CANARY ISLANDS  Not an independent country
AFRICA W GE CEUTA AND MELILLA  Not an independent country
AFRICA W GF SIERRA LEONE  
AFRICA W GG GUINEA-BISSAU  
AFRICA W GL LIBERIA  
AFRICA W GM MOROCCO  
AFRICA W GO SENEGAL  
AFRICA W GQ MAURITANIA  
AFRICA W GS WESTERN SAHARA  
AFRICA W GU GUINEA   
AFRICA W GV CAPE VERDE  
AFRICA E HA ETHIOPIA  
AFRICA E HB BURUNDI  
AFRICA E HC SOMALIA  
AFRICA E HE EGYPT  
AFRICA E HF DJIBOUTI  
AFRICA E HH ERITREA  
AFRICA E HK KENYA  
AFRICA E HL LIBYA  
AFRICA E HR RWANDA  
AFRICA E HS  SUDAN  
AFRICA E HT TANZANIA  
AFRICA E HU UGANDA  
USA
K
USA  
EUROPE S LA ALBANIA  
EUROPE S LB BULGARIA  
EUROPE S LC CYPRUS  
EUROPE S LD CROATIA  
EUROPE S LE SPAIN  
EUROPE S LF FRANCE  
EUROPE S LG GREECE  
EUROPE S LH HUNGARY  
EUROPE S LI ITALY  
EUROPE S LJ SLOVENIA  
EUROPE S LK CZECH REP  
EUROPE S LL ISRAEL  
EUROPE S LM MALTA  
EUROPE S LN MONACO  
EUROPE S LO AUSTRIA  
EUROPE S LP  PORTUGAL INC MADEIRA & AZORES  
EUROPE S LQ BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA  
EUROPE S LR ROMANIA  
EUROPE S LS SWITZERLAND  
EUROPE S LT TURKEY  
EUROPE S LU MOLDOVA  
EUROPE S LV PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY Not universally recognized as a country
EUROPE S LW MACEDONIA  
EUROPE S LX  GIBRALTAR  Not an independent country
EUROPE S LY SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO  
EUROPE S LZ SLOVAKIA  
CA WI  MB TURKS AND CAICOS  Not an independent country
CA WI  MD DOMINICAN REPUBLIC  
CA WI  MG GUATEMALA  
CA WI  MH HONDURAS  
CA WI  MK JAMAICA  
CA WI  MM MEXICO  
CA WI  MN NICARAGUA  
CA WI  MP PANAMA  
CA WI  MR COSTA RICA  
CA WI  MS EL SALVADOR  
CA WI  MT HAITI  
CA WI  MU  CUBA  
CA WI  MW CAYMAN ISLANDS  Not an independent country
CA WI  MY BAHAMAS  
CA WI  MZ BELIZE  
PACIFIC S  NC COOK ISLANDS  Not an independent country
PACIFIC S  NF FIJI AND TONGA  
PACIFIC S  NG KIRIBATI AND TUVALU  
PACIFIC S  NI  NIUE  Not an independent country
PACIFIC S  NL WALLIS AND FUTUNA  Not an independent country
PACIFIC S  NS AMERICAN SAMOA  Not an independent country
PACIFIC S  NT FRENCH POLYNESIA  Not an independent country
PACIFIC S  NV VANUATU  
PACIFIC S  NW NEW CALEDONIA  Not an independent country
PACIFIC S  NZ NEW ZEALAND  
SW ASIA OA AFGHANISTAN  
SW ASIA OB BAHRAIN  
SW ASIA OE SAUDI ARABIA  
SW ASIA OI IRAN  
SW ASIA OJ JORDAN  
SW ASIA OK KUWAIT  
SW ASIA OL LEBANON  
SW ASIA OM UAE  
SW ASIA OO OMAN  
SW ASIA OP PAKISTAN  
SW ASIA OR IRAQ  
SW ASIA OS SYRIA  
SW ASIA OT QATAR  
SW ASIA OY  YEMEN  
PACIFIC N PA ALASKA  Not an independent country
PACIFIC N PB BAKER ISLAND  Not an independent country
PACIFIC N PC  PART OF KIRIBATI  CANTON   
PACIFIC N PG GUAM AND N MARIANAS  Not an independent country
PACIFIC N PH HAWAII  Not an independent country
PACIFIC N PK MARSHALL ISLANDS  
PACIFIC N PL  LINE ISLANDS (KIRIBATI)  
PACIFIC N PM MIDWAY  Not an independent country
PACIFIC N PT MICRONESIA AND PALAU  
PACIFIC N PW WAKE ISLAND  Not an independent country
ORIENT RC TAIWAN  Not universally recognized as a country
ORIENT RJ JAPAN (MOST)  
ORIENT RK SOUTH KOREA  
ORIENT RO OKINAWA   Not an independent country
ORIENT RP PHILIPPINES  
S AMERICA S* BRAZIL Most second letters but not all.
S AMERICA SA ARGENTINA  
S AMERICA SC CHILE  
S AMERICA SE ECUADOR  
S AMERICA SF FALKLAND ISLANDS  Not an independent country
S AMERICA SG PARAGUAY  
S AMERICA SK COLOMBIA  
S AMERICA SM SURINAME  
S AMERICA SO FRENCH GUIANA  Not an independent country
S AMERICA SP PERU  
S AMERICA SU URUGUAY  
S AMERICA SV VENEZUELA  
S AMERICA SY GUYANA  
WEST INDIES TA ANTIGUA  
WEST INDIES TB BARBADOS  
WEST INDIES TD DOMINICA   
WEST INDIES TF FRENCH WEST INDIES  Not an independent country
WEST INDIES TG GRENADA  
WEST INDIES TI US VIRGIN ISLANDS  Not an independent country
WEST INDIES TJ PUERTO RICO  Not an independent country
WEST INDIES TK ST KITTS  
WEST INDIES TL ST LUCIA  
WEST INDIES TN NETHERLANDS CARIBBEAN  Not an independent country
WEST INDIES TQ ANGUILLA  Not an independent country
WEST INDIES TR MONTSERRAT  Not an independent country
WEST INDIES TT TRINIDAD  
WEST INDIES TU BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS  Not an independent country
WEST INDIES TV ST VINCENT  
WEST INDIES TX BERMUDA  Not an independent country
RUSSIA ETC U* RUSSIA UU UN UW UL, possibly others
RUSSIA ETC UA KAZAKHSTAN AND KYRGYSTAN  
RUSSIA ETC UB AZERBAIJAN  
RUSSIA ETC UD ARMENIA  
RUSSIA ETC UG GEORGIA  
RUSSIA ETC UK UKRAINE  
RUSSIA ETC UM BELARUS  
RUSSIA ETC UT  TAJIKISTAN TURKMENISTAN UZBEKISTAN  
RUSSIA ETC UW UKRAINE  
SE ASIA VA INDIA WEST ZONE  
SE ASIA VC SRI LANKA  
SE ASIA VD CAMBODIA  
SE ASIA VE INDIA EAST ZONE  
SE ASIA VG BANGLADESH  
SE ASIA VH HONG KONG  Not an independent country
SE ASIA VI INDIA NORTH ZONE  
SE ASIA VL LAOS  
SE ASIA VM MACAU  Not an independent country
SE ASIA VN NEPAL  
SE ASIA VO INDIA SOUTH ZONE  
SE ASIA VQ BHUTAN  
SE ASIA VR MALDIVES  
SE ASIA VT THAILAND  
SE ASIA VV VIETNAM  
SE ASIA VY MYANMAR  
SE ASIA 2 W INDONESIA SEVERAL 2ND CHARACTERS
SE ASIA 2 WB BRUNEI  
SE ASIA 2 WM MALAYSIA  
SE ASIA 2 WS SINGAPORE  
AUSTRALIA
Y
AUSTRALIA  
ASIA E Z* CHINA *Most second letters but not all.
ASIA E ZK NORTH KOREA  
ASIA E ZM MONGOLIA  

 

 
 
 
    IATA 3-letter Airport Codes
 

Used for baggage routing and schedules. Arbitrary set of letters but very often are relevant to the location, airport name or history.   Any first letter can be from any country except that Canada is notable in that all of its IATA codes commence with a Y or X. and have little or none of the  relevance seen in other countries.
Examples: 
LHR London Heathrow
MCO  Orlando (formerly McCoy AFB)
LGA  New York LaGuardia
YUL  Montreal Trudeau

 

In the public world of airline schedules and airline baggage, airports are identified by IATA codes of three letters.  Any airport receiving regular commercial air service of some kind must have one of these 3-letter codes.  Well known examples are JFK (New York Kennedy), LHR (London Heathrow) and MCO (Orlando).   These airport codes have no system of assignment by country.  In other words the letters used in these has no relationship to the particular countries, except as is pointed out shortly, so there is no table for regions and countries similar to the ICAO one.   
 
While I am not actually aware of the process involved for assignment, the simple answer is that an airport authority or user can ask for whatever three letter combination is available.    In most cases the request would be for something that relates to the airport's name or the town's name but this is not mandatory.     For example a new airport at Centreville with a special name, in this case John Smith Memorial Airport, might have an application submitted for such combinations as CVL, CEN, JSC, CJS, JSM or whatever else seems to match.  Since there are a tremendous number of three-letter codes already assigned it would today be very fortuitous for a new airport to actually obtain something so close as the above examples.   They might have to settle for SMM or XCS, that seem to have little relationship.    Throughout the world many of the largest airports have codes that do relate closely to the city or airport name, or to a former name if there has been a change.   For example DEN certainly relates perfectly to Denver and LHR relates well to both the city name London and the airport name Heathrow, whereas MCO relates well to McCoy Air Force Base, the former name for Orlando International Airport, and PEK was perfect for Peking, the former name for Beijing, China.    There should not be any duplicates of these codes as they are used extensively for baggage routing and appear prominently on tags.    There are a number of web pages devoted to worldwide lists of these IATA codes, but due to sheer numbers they are somewhat difficult to go through in their entirety.
 
 
 
Relationship between the systems  
 
In most of the world there really is no relationship between the ICAO and IATA codes.     For example, for Heathrow, EGLL (ICAO) bears no resemblance to LHR (IATA).   
 
It is completely different in Canada and the United States.    Because these two countries each have an ICAO region code to themselves, they can use three letters to designate individual airports, which conveniently is the same number of letters used by the IATA.  
 
The result is that every Canadian airport that has an ICAO 4 letter code has the same last three letters as the complete IATA 3-letter code.   So for example, CYYZ is ICAO code for Toronto Pearson, and YYZ is the IATA code.  
 
Similarly in the USA, KMIA is ICAO for Miami and MIA is IATA for the same airport.    It must be pointed out however that there are a few American airports where this is not true.   Generally this can be attributed to the US authorities assigning a four letter code first but the corresponding three letter IATA one is already used somewhere else in the world.   For example if KCVL was assigned years ago to Centreville and then commercial flights began later, the IATA code cannot be CVL if that had already been assigned by the IATA to Convallee, Nigeria.    So in this case Centreville USA will have ICAO KCVL and IATA CTR.   (This example was fictional).    
 
WHY DO CANADIAN AIRPORTS HAVE SUCH STRANGE CODES?     Big airports in other countries seem to have codes that easily give a clue as to where they are... why don't we have that?   We "know" that MIA is Miami and JFK is New York Kennedy and SYD is Sydney, Australia, so why is Toronto YYZ instead of TOR?
 
The oddity in all of this is that Canada chose many years ago to code practically all airports with codes beginning with CY so that today all principal Canadian airports have ICAO codes of the CYxx variety and therefore IATA codes that are Yxx.    Canadian airports have not had the opportunity therefore to have IATA codes that are easy to relate or catchy in any way.   YYZ for Canada's biggest airport instead of TOR  or TRN or PRS is not a good thing, nor on the local scene is YHZ for Halifax instead of HAL, HFX, etc. but that is what Canada lives with, which is so ironic seeing as this country is one of only a few with the chance for congruence between ICAO and IATA codes.
 
As alluded to earlier, there are airports that do not have an ICAO code but yet have scheduled airline service and therefore have an IATA code.  A good example is Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island.    This airport has only a Transport Canada identifier (LID) of CAT4, but because it has regular passenger service there must be an IATA code for baggage handling and timetables so therefore IATA has assigned XQU to this airport.
 
 
 
 
AIRPORT CODES COMMONLY ENCOUNTERED WHILE MONITORING AIR TRAFFIC OVER AND INTO THE MARITIMES OF CANADA
 

Common Examples of specific airport codes associated with aircraft flying over the Maritimes or into Halifax Stanfield International Airport.  While this list is exhaustive, there are many other airports less commonly associated with such flights.  This list has been arranged by ICAO code so that you can easily look up codes you see on Flight Aware. Also indicated are the 3-letter IATA codes that usually have an obvious similarity or connection to the city or airport name (except in Canada where they only rarely have a connection).   Some of the airports listed are common for air traffic because they are major cargo hubs rather than important for passengers. 

ICAO CODE AIRPORT IATA CODE COUNTRY
BIKF KEFLAVIK KEF ICELAND
CYDF DEER LAKE, NF YDF CANADA
CYEG EDMONTON, AB YEG CANADA
CYFC FREDERICTON, NB YFC CANADA
CYHM HAMILTON, ON YHM CANADA
CYHZ HALIFAX YHZ CANADA
CYOW OTTAWA YOW CANADA
CYUL MONTREAL YUL CANADA
CYQM MONCTON, NB YQM CANADA
CYQX GANDER, NF YQX CANADA
CYQY SYDNEY, NS YQY CANADA
CYSJ SAINT JOHN, NB YSJ CANADA
CYYC CALGARY, AB YYC CANADA
CYYG CHARLOTTETOWN, PE YYG CANADA
CYYR GOOSE BAY, NF YYR CANADA
CYYT ST. JOHN'S (TORBAY) YYT CANADA
CYYZ TORONTO PEARSON YYZ CANADA
EBBR BRUSSELS BRU BELGIUM
EBLG LIEGE LGG BELGIUM
EBOS OSTEND OST BELGIUM
EDDC DRESDEN DRS GERMANY
EDDF FRANKFURT FRA GERMANY
EDDH HAMBURG HAM GERMANY
EDDK COLOGNE-BONN CGN GERMANY
EDDL DUSSELDORF DUS GERMANY
EDDM MUNICH MUC GERMANY
EDDN NUREMBURG NUE GERMANY
EDDP LEIPZIG LEJ GERMANY
EDDT BERLIN  TEIGEL TXL GERMANY
EDFH FRANKFURT-HAHN HHN GERMANY
EFHK HELSINKI HEL FINLAND
EGBB BIRMINGHAM BHX UK
EGCC MANCHESTER MAN UK
EGGW LONDON LUTON LTN UK
EGKK LONDON GATWICK LGW UK
EGLL LONDON HEATHROW LHR UK
EGNX DERBY EAST MIDLANDS EMA UK
EGPF GLASGOW (ABBOTSINCH) GLA UK
EGPH EDINBURGH EDI UK
EGSS LONDON STANSTEAD STD UK
EGTE EXETER EXT UK
EHAM AMSTERDAM SCHIPHOL AMS NETHERLANDS
EIDW DUBLIN DUB IRELAND
EINN SHANNON SNN IRELAND
EKCH COPENHAGEN CPH DENMARK
EKOD ODENSE ODE DENMARK
ELLX LUXEMBOURG LUX LUXEMBOURG
ENGM OSLO GARDERMOEN OSL NORWAY
EPWA WARSAW F.CHOPIN (OKECIE) WAW POLAND
ESSA STOCKHOLM ARLANDA ARN SWEDEN
ETAR RAMSTEIN AIR BASE (USAF) RMS GERMANY
HAAB ADDIS ABABA ADD ETHIOPIA
HECA CAIRO CAI EGYPT
KATL ATLANTA ATL USA
KBOS BOSTON BOS USA
KBWI BALTIMORE-WASHINGTON BWI USA
KCLT CHARLOTTE CLT USA
KCVG CINCINNATI (COVINGTON) CVG USA
KDCA WASHINGTON REAGAN NAT. DCA USA
KDFW DALLAS FORT WORTH DFW USA
KDTW DETROIT WAYNE COUNTY DTW USA
KEWR NEWARK EWR USA
KIAD WASHINGTON DULLES IAD USA
KIAH HOUSTON GEO BUSH IAH USA
KJFK NEW YORK KENNEDY JFK USA
KLGA NEW YORK LA GUARDIA LGA USA
KMCO ORLANDO (EX-MCCOY FIELD) MCO USA
KMEM MEMPHIS MEM USA
KMIA MIAMI MIA USA
KORD CHICAGO O'HARE ORD USA
KPHL PHILADELPHIA PHL USA
KSDF LOUISVILLE (STANDIFORD) SDF USA
LEBL BARCELONA BCL SPAIN
LEMD MADRID MAD SPAIN
LEMG MALAGA (Costa del Sol) AGP SPAIN
LEVC VALENCIA VLC SPAIN
LFMN NICE COTE D`ĄZUR NCE FRANCE
LFPG PARIS DE GAULLE/ROISSY CDG FRANCE
LFPO PARIS ORLY ORY FRANCE
LFVP ST PIERRE FSP FRANCE
LGAV ATHENS VENIZELOS ATH GREECE
LICA LAMEZIA TERME (SAN EUFIMIA) SUF ITALY
LICJ PALERMO PMO ITALY
LIMC MILAN MALPENSA MXP ITALY
LIPZ VENICE MARCO POLO VCE ITALY
LIRF  ROME LEONARDO DA VINCI  FCO ITALY
LKPR PRAGUE RUZNYE PRG CZECH REP
LLBG TEL AVIV BEN GURION TLV ISRAEL
LPLA LAJES, AZORES (TERCEIRA I) TER PORTUGAL
LPPR PORTO (OPORTO) OPO PORTUGAL
LPPT LISBON PORTELA LIS PORTUGAL
LSGA GENEVA GVA SWITZERLAND
LSZH ZURICH ZRH SWITZERLAND
LTBA ISTANBUL ATATURK IST TURKEY
LOWW VIENNA VIE AUSTRIA
MDAB SAMANA ARROYO BARIL EPS DOMINICAN REP
MDLR LA ROMANA LRM DOMINICAN REP
MDPC PUNTA CANA PUJ DOMINICAN REP
MDPP PUERTO PLATA POP DOMINICAN REP
MMCZ COZUMEL CZM MEXICO
MMMX MEXICO CITY BENITO JUAREZ MEX MEXICO
MMUN CANCUN CUN MEXICO
MUCA CAYO COCO JARDINES DEL REY CCC CUBA
MUHA HAVANA JOSE MARTI HAV CUBA
MUHG HOLGUIN FRANK PAIS HOG CUBA
MUSC SANTA CLARA SNU CUBA
MUVR VARADERO J G GOMEZ VRA CUBA
OBBI BAHRAIN (AL MANAMA) BAH BAHRAIN
OERK RIYADH KING KHALID RUH SAUDI ARABIA
OJAI AMMAN QUEEN ALIA AMM JORDAN
OKBK KUWAIT CITY KWI KUWAIT
OMDB DUBAI DXB UAE
OTBD DOHA DOH QATAR
SAEZ BUENOS AIRES EZEIZA EZE ARGENTINA
SMJP PARAMARIBO (J. PENGEL) PBM SURINAME
UKBB KIEV BORYSPIL KBP UKRAINE
ULLI ST PETERSBURG LED RUSSIA
UUDD MOSCOW DOMODEDOVO DME RUSSIA
UUEE MOSCOW SHEREMETYEVO SVO RUSSIA
VABB MUMBAI (BOMBAY) BOM INDIA

 

 

 RADIO NAVIGATION AIDS and REPORTING POINTS 
CODES AND NAMES
 
Radio navigation facilities and reporting points are also geographic locations, just as are airports described just above.
 
 
RADIO NAVIGATION FACILITIES.
 
In today's civil aviation system there really are just two kinds of land-based radio aids other than those used for actual landing procedures.  These are radio beacons (low and medium frequency) which today are NDB's (non-directional beacons) and VOR's (very high frequency).   Having said that, it is also relevant to mention that both types are much less important than in the past, as commercial aircraft have moved on to other methods of navigation to a great extent.   NDB's are now of most value to small aircraft or to aircraft in general in isolated areas of northern Canada.     There remain many many beacons and VOR's throughout North America and the world in general.     Military aircraft can in addition use another system called TACAN, also of declining importance.
 
But these types of aids are indirectly used by even the most sophisticated of aircraft due to the fact that they are not only actual radio transmitters but rather that they are all defined by location.   Therefore an aircraft that is actually navigating by GPS will still require defined places to navigate to along the airways and therefore can use these radio aids that are already there and defined by coordinates.   Aircraft will have for example the locations of the Halifax VOR and the radio beacons on the approaches to the Halifax airport already defined in their navigational databases.    If a controller clears an aircraft to the Halifax VOR it will likely have the capability of actually using the VOR to home in on, but more likely the pilot will key in the ID for the Halifax VOR (YHZ), and the aircraft will then use its more sophisticated system to head to the coordinates of the Halifax VOR, but not actually using the VOR.
 
Radio beacons, usually called NDB's (non-directional beacons), are traditionally identified by the letters or letters and numbers transmitted on them by "Morse Code".      So for example the beacon on the approaches to runway 05 at Halifax was referred to as the Golf Beacon as it transmitted the letter G.    Some beacons, especially those that are isolated from other types of aids might transmit a Yxx three letter ID as is normally assigned to a VOR (see below).  For example the NDB at Greenwood is the YZX NDB; however it can also be called the "Greenwood NDB".  While there are many that are referred to that way, beacons associated with landing at airports are often named using real words that may or may not have relevance to the nearby towns or features.   In the case of the Golf Beacon at Halifax, the new name for it was Split Crow, which is the name of a tavern in the Halifax area.   Similarly, the Juliett Beacon on the approach to runway 23 is now called the Bluenose Beacon, named after another tavern in Halifax.    For a short time the Bluenose was called the Midtown but that was changed, presumably due to some other beacon in the world having already been assigned that name.    On the whole, for the aircraft you will hear overflying the Maritimes or enroute to and from airports will not commonly be using NDB's and the most common mention of them will be for aircraft lining up on the runways for final approach and even then it will usually be for smaller aircraft.
 
Note also that in  some areas of Canada there are NDB's provided and operated privately instead of by Nav Canada.   These private NDB's usually transmit a number and letter such as 5Y in Trenton, NS and 8F in Debert.   While these are open to use by anyone they have been provided to meet the needs of the local users or perhaps a private entity.
 
VOR's (VHF Omnirange beacons) and the somewhat similar Localizer beacons operate on frequencies between 108 and 118 MHz.    Localizer's are located at airports and are associated with landing systems, whereas VOR's are for longer range navigation, depending on the transmitter power and the location.   Basically VOR's allow users to determine direction from the VOR, but commonly are collocated with distance measuring equipment (DME) or a TACAN, so that in many cases the distance and direction are both indicated on a readout in the cockpit.  It is beyond the scope of this page to describe more than this.
 
In terms of identification, VOR's in North America are designated by three letters. Typically these are the same as the three-letter IATA airport codes (Which in Canada and USA = last three letters of the ICAO code) if there is an airport nearby but not necessarily, and in any event, many VOR's are not in the immediate vicinity of any airport and therefore have a three-letter ID that is not used by any airport.  For example the Aylmer, Ontario VOR is YQO but there is not any airport at Aylmer and therefore there is no CYQO/YQO airport.   Most Canadian VOR's use the normal for Canada Yxx structure, whereas US VOR's, like the airports, use whatever three letters that are desired and otherwise unused.   
 
On the radio, controllers and pilots may refer to VOR's by the location name or by the three letter identification.   For example it is extremely common to hear aircraft enroute from Halifax to New York being cleared to Kennebunk which means the Kennebunk VOR, but sometimes the controller will use the designator ENE instead of the name.    When being more formal or where there is a language barrier it is most common to use the three letter ID.   Other common examples in our area include  YQI (Yarmouth), PQI (Presque Ile) and MLT (Millinocket).       Note again however that in most cases the aircraft is merely using the defined location of the VOR and not actually using the beacon itself.
 
There are in fact a few VOR's in Canada that do not have Yxx identifiers, and the reasons for this are unknown to me.   Examples in eastern Canada are VLV Beauce, Quebec and VBS Saguenay, Quebec.    This might suggest that Canadian VOR's can have Yxx or Vxx identifiers but at the moment this is unclear.
 
 
TACAN's operate on 960-1215 MHz and scanner users generally are not able to listen to them.  They provide the same kind of service as a VOR and DME but are more accurate and the directional aspect is only available to military aircraft.   Civilians can use the DME part of this in locations where there is a joint TACAN and VOR, called a VORTAC such as at Bangor, Maine.   TACAN's that operate independently, i.e. not as part of a VORTAC are identified in Canada with a Uxx identification, where the xx is the same as the xx in the CYxx airport code.   Often there will be an NDB located nearby and it will have the Yxx identity.   You will never hear a civilian aircraft cleared to a TACAN but you will hear on occasion military aircraft so directed, such as "cleared to the Greenwood TACAN" however you will not hear the three letter Uxx ID mentioned.
 
 
 
REPORTING POINTS.  
 
Reporting Points and Intersection Points are abstract notions.  They are points in airspace below which there is no radio navigation device.   In other words there is nothing there other than any physical feature, if any, that happens to lie on the earth's surface just below.   In the case of points over water there definitely will be nothing there to base any identification on.    Most likely there will be a reporting point whenever two designated airways meet and in such cases they can be referred to as intersection points.  Otherwise they are called reporting points.   There are many of these reporting points in the airspace around airports that have instrument landing procedures as every defined turning point must be defined.   There are also many of them along the coasts where the land-based air traffic control system meets its oceanic counterparts.   
 
Reporting points are identified by five-letter codes or names. They must be pronounceable as a "word" but the combination does not have to be a real word in any language.   For example near Halifax is ODKAS and LEROS.  Offshore from Atlantic Canada are JEBBY and SUPRY.  In some cases there will be an attempted relationship to the local area or to a theme.  Many of the offshore points are variations on fish names such as OYSTR or CODD.
 
In monitoring local air traffic it will be very very common to hear inbound aircraft approaching an airport to be cleared to a particular reporting point, in order to set them up for landing.    Aircraft leaving the airport area will often be directed by the controller to a reporting point that is many kilometres away, perhaps more than 100 km distant.   Such is the case when aircraft leaving Halifax are cleared "direct ALEXX" on the US/Canadian border.
 
When monitoring high flying aircraft heading east over the Atlantic it will be very common to hear clearances to particular ocean entry points, which are the points where they commence their oceanic passages.   
 
If a reporting point or navaid is mentioned on air or on site such as Flightaware, but you do not know where it is, try checking at  www.airnav.com . For example I saw that AC1218 from Halifax and heading to Orlando was going by way of HTO.  I looked it up and saw that HTO was Hampton, Long Island, NY.