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FAQ: airports codes

Business Aviation is a segment of aviation and therefore the rules are the same for them both. 

In particular, in order to identify one specific airport they usually use two different codes: the IATA and ICAO codes. 

What are IATA and ICAO?

Both of them are aviation authorities.

IATA is the acronym of International Air Transport Association and the IATA codes are composed by three letters.

They based on the name of the airport or city they refer to. 

For example: CDG stand for Paris Charles De Gaulle. 

GVA stands for Geneva. 

Those codes are used for the commercial part of aviation: ticket selling, timetables at the airport, flight connection advertisement etc.

ICAO stands for International Civil Aviation Organisation and its codes are composed by 4 letters. 

Those codes are used in aviation operations, flight plans, official documents and air traffic control. 

Business Aviation is more familiar to ICAO codes than IATA codes. 

ICAO codes

The ICAO codes are 4 letter codes that identify without any doubt a specific airport everywhere in the world. 

They are latin letters and the first one indicates the continent where the airport is located (Europe, Africa, America, China….).

The second (or sometimes second and third) letter identifies the country. 

France, Germany, Switzerland….

The last letter identifies the airport and the city. 

What if you are more IATA than ICAO oriented?

Well… in this case you are not alone!

Having spent 10 years in commercial airline before joining the Private Aviation world, I am definitely more used to IATA than ICAO.

In Corporate Aviation I sometimes struggle because I can’t manage to memorise the ICAO codes apart form two or three….

LIRA is Rome Ciampino! I remember it because Lira was the Italian currency before Euro and Rome is the Capital. 

Definitely, it makes sense that in the capital of Italy they print the money, no?

UUWW is Moscow Vnukovo. Easy. Two letters repeated twice, I can do that.

Another one? LFMN is Nice. 

Probably because is such a common destination that, at the end, it found a way to get into my head and stay there!

For all the others….. I google them.

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