Okay. So you've gotten down to writing about your airports. But what are these seemingly random three- or four-letter codes you're seeing now? Everybody seems to have them — what exactly are they, and how do you assign such codes to your own airports?
If you've ever flown on a plane before, chances are you've at least encountered the three-letter codes. Examples include LAX (Los Angeles), MNL (Manila), YYZ (Toronto), CGK (Jakarta), and LED (St. Petursburg).
On the other hand, you might have never heard of the four-letter type. It's used more often for technical purposes, where you'll see codes such as KJFK (New York), EGLL (London Heathrow), EGNJ (Grimsby), and RPVM (Cebu).
So, let's get started...
AIRPORT CODES - WHY?
You might have wondered — why did we ever need these codes in the first place? The answer's simple: you wouldn't want to have to say Thiruvananthapuram when you can just say TRV, wouldn't you?
Jokes aside, airport codes serve the exact same purpose as any other kind of code would do — simplify. Long, long lists of airports would look so much better if those airports are listed in three-letter codes. The codes also encourage standardization, which again goes back to the original goal of simplifying everything.
Wait — simplify ?! What do you mean, "simplify" ? Some airport codes are absolutely nonsense! How could YYZ ever stand for "Toronto"? RPVM and "Cebu"?!
Calm down. There's a bit of explaining that needs to be done here, so listen well...
THREE OR FOUR?
Actually, both. Most airports actually have both three- and four-letter codes, such as AMS and EHAM both referring to the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Other smaller airports like rural airstrips might have only a four-letter code. To understand why, here's a bit of IRL history.
You see, today there are two main international organizations governing the laws of the sky: IATA and ICAO. IATA, which stands for International Air Transport Association, is a trade organization of airlines, while ICAO, which stands for International Civil Aviation Organization, is a branch of the United Nations dealing with international aviation law. Both organizations seek to regulate commercial aviation to ensure that certain safety or performance standards are met.
Instinct told both organizations that assigning airport codes was a very important stepping stone. Yet even though they had the same idea, they did it quite differently.
IATA, being a trade organization, wanted simplicity. They called for short 3-letter codes that slightly resemble the name of the airport or city so that passengers could easily understand. These are the codes you see everywhere — on boarding passes, signboards, and everywhere they might be needed.
ICAO, on the other hand, is a branch of the UN. They called for organization, using a special system to assign 4-letter codes to airports. As a passenger, you'll never see these codes. But pilots and air traffic controllers will. Everything technical references the ICAO code and not the IATA code.
Of course, for efficiency, you'd better assign both codes to your airport. Perhaps leave the IATA code out if it's a really small airport. But you can't just jump straight in — you'll need to read on.
GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS
Alright, it's time to do the dirty work. How exactly does this system work?
Allow me to explain the IATA code first, as it's simpler and more commonly used. If you've noticed, IATA codes do resemble the cities — JFK for New York's John F. Kennedy Airport, HKG for Hong Kong, and BRU for Brussels.
Those three examples make up the simplest kind of IATA code — abbreviations and acronyms. These codes are designed to be as recognizable as possible; as such, they are usually assigned to major airports.
Other codes will bear some noticeable resemblance, but not much. Codes like CRK for Clark, HKT for Phuket, and TEB for Teterboro are good examples of this type. You see, 3 letters will get you over 17,000 possible codes — but remember, certain letters such as E, A or C are used much more often than letters like W, Y, or J. Therefore, to conserve space for larger airports, less-significant airports will receive a code that somewhat resembles their name.
Then we have the X-codes, and there's a lot of them. LAX for Los Angeles, DXB for Dubai, and CNX for Chiang Mai are some familiar airports that come to mind. The "X" doesn't signify that these airports are insignificant, as LAX is one of them. The trend actually emerged in the US as a way to simplify certain airport codes, but other nations followed suit as well. Just don't overuse the "X" — don't want to look too edgy, do you?
Lastly, we have those codes that are complete nonsense. YYZ for Toronto, ORD for Chicago, and CGK for Jakarta are some codes that must be memorized by heart. These codes have quite a history behind them — at least, the big airports do. For example, Jakarta's airport is located in an area known as Cengkareng, hence the code CGK. Chicago's ORD references an old airport which used to stand on the grounds of today's O'hare International Airport. LED for St. Petursburg, of course, refers to Leningrad, which is glorious city of great mighty Soviet Union.
Airports like YYZ might need to do a little explaining as to why their code really is absolute nonsense.
Want more information on why IATA codes can be so messy or so neat? See here.
... Alright, we're done with that. If you're not overheating from the information yet, here's a guide to ICAO codes. As I've said, ICAO codes represent the four-letter technical codes that nobody uses. However, there is a very organized system as to how an airport receives its code.
First, let's take an example. RCTP is the ICAO code for Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei. Every ICAO code has 3 parts:
First, the R. The first letter represents a certain geographical area or group of countries, to which a letter is assigned. In this case, "R" is assigned to all airports within the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea. Other examples include E for the northern half of Europe (such as EGLL for London Heathrow) and K for the contiguous United States (such as KBOS for Boston).
Next, the C. Within the R-group, each respective country or territory is assigned a specific letter. Taiwan gets "C", so all Taiwanese airports begin with the prefix RC. Similarly, we have RJ for Japan and RP for the Philippines. Usually, the second letter is much closer to the actual name of the country than the first letter is to the region.
Don't worry — we have a map. As you see, we've already assigned our first letters to certain regions. The second letter would correspond to your own nation's name, unless it's already taken. You'll be assigned another similar letter if that does happen. A list of the country codes can be found here.
(Credits to the almighty @Gallambria.)
We've decoded the first half of RCTP. How about the second half? Well, it's pretty simple from here — you get to decide. As "TP" somewhat resembles "Taipei", Taiwan decided to use that for the second half of their ICAO code. It's all up to you.
While browsing around, you might encounter codes like VHHH for Hong Kong and WIII for Jakarta. How do they do this? Well, they've actually used the second letter to their advantage to create a catchy code. As Hong Kong has only one other airport, they could simply add HH to their prefix VH to get the code for their very popular airport. Indonesia has done the same with Jakarta — since they have nothing to do with II, they add it to their prefix WI. Again, it's up to you.
A very special example is Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei. Their airport code is WBSB, which closely resembles the name Bandar Seri Begawan. They can do this because of their second letter B, which is also the first letter of the capital's name. A simple trick you can use to make really catchy codes as well. I myself have done the above with Arkhavn's airport, with the code CARK. As my prefix is CA, I simply add RK to resemble the name Arkhavn.
For a bonus, we'll look into an extra system used in the Philippines. As I've said earlier, the Philippines' first two letters are RP. But how come Manila gets the code RPLL and Cebu gets RPVM? This one's pretty simple too. The Philippines is divided into 3 major geographical regions: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. To put it straight, the third letter represents the region and the fourth letter represents the city name.
Let's look closer: Manila is located in Luzon, so the third letter would be L. Combining this system with the other "catchy code" system, we double the "L" to get RPLL. In the same way, Cebu is located in Visayas and its airport is located on an island known as Mactan, hence RPVM. The same goes for Davao, a city in Mindanao — that's right, we get RPMD.
And, that's just about it. A little guide to help you in creating your airport codes so we could steal them and put them in our lists of airline destinations. Game-changing? Nope, not really. But nevertheless it's here to help. Cheers!
The Oriental Meteorological, Atmospherical and Hydrological Administration, abbreviated as OMAHA, is a joint meteorological organization between several nations in the vicinity of the Oriental Ocean. Formally established by the Waipahu Accord on the 28th of August 2017, founding members included @Andalla, the @Sunset Sea Islands and @Kualoa. OMAHA was established to provide its member states with a quick and reliable source for weather reports, usually regarding tropical cyclones. Though OMAHA does not hold national status within any nation, it represents a partnership between the national meteorological agencies of its member states, and is recognized as the foremost authority on weather information within the vicinity of the Thalassan and Southern Oriental Oceans.
OMAHA officially monitors tropical cyclones and weather disturbances that occur within an area of nearly 60 million square kilometers, bound by the following coordinates:
45°S 105°E 20°S 105°E 20°S 150°E 20°N 180°W 20°N 120°W 20°S 120°W 20°S 180°E 45°S 180°E TROPICAL DEPRESSION, ten-minute sustained winds of up to 63 km/h (34 knots)
TROPICAL STORM, ten-minute sustained winds of 63-88 km/h (34-48 knots)
SEVERE TROPICAL STORM, ten-minute sustained winds of 89-118 km/h (48-64 knots)
TYPHOON, ten-minute sustained winds of 118-220 km/h (64-119 knots)
SUPER TYPHOON, ten-minute sustained winds of 220 km/h (119 knots) and up.
"Papa, kha kin !" (hurry up)
"Yes, yes, almost done."
"But, papa, ah-peh (uncle) can't be late."
"I know, I know, just hold on a bit, Jans."
For the fifth time, young Jans took a glance at the clock. It was eight minutes past one, the morning of November 30th. He turned around and looked out the window to check if the car was still there. The Esé patiently waited; its headlights illuminating the cold, lonely midnight street. Two women stood outside talking — Anna, Jans' mother, and her sister Ashley.
Even from inside the house, he could hear the low hum of the Gordo's engine. Nothing made a sound in this corner of Arkhavn; Sønderlev was a peaceful neighborhood. Located only two blocks away from the country's financial center, Sønderlev was a "village for the privileged" as they would say. And privileged his family was — his father, Robert Cheng, had worked 18 years at Alfaland, serving as COO for six years and sitting on the Board for five. And if being a senior official for one of Andalla's most prominent real estate companies was not enough, Robert Cheng also served as a non-exec and major shareholder in several other corporations. Now retired, his humble father sought to make more time for his family as opposed to the hectic schedule of a wealthy aristocrat; he now ran a small café chain with Anna. Their main branch was built on an empty lot right next to Jans' school, which was a ten-minute walk away through the quiet streets of Sønderlev.
. . .
"Here, help me close this luggage and bring it out so you and Mama can load it in. I'll double-check the house if we left anything."
"OK, but don't take too long, alright Papa?"
"Of course, Jans."
Robert was not a man of many servants. Born to a middle-class Giokton family, he had to slowly work himself up the corporate ladder; a gruesome experience from beginning to end. Throughout his career he had learned courage and independence, two important values that sustained him even until the present. It was for this reason that he did not hire any nanny or chauffeur — everything was done by the family themselves.
Outside, Jans had just finished loading the last luggage into the compartment. Anna was pleased to see her little boy doing so much work; now he was really growing up. Turning ten in two days was no small matter. Jans was off on a week-long semestral break, and they were going abroad to celebrate.
"Now, Jans, get in the car. Ah-peh has a surprise for you. I'll just go back and help Papa fix everything."
"You'll be done soon, right Mama?"
"Depends if we have lots of things to fix. Don't worry, we won't take long."
Anna disappeared back into the house. Robert was arranging all the things, unplugging any electrical appliances. Anna ran through the bedrooms, making sure nothing was left behind. One could never be so sure.
One by one, Anna switched off the lights and closed all the windows in each room. She took one last glance into Jans' small bedroom, which was adjacent to theirs. He had been sleeping alone since the age of eight, which was rather impressive. He was really a mature little boy, much to the delight of his parents and everybody around him.
Anna smiled to herself and flicked the switch. She could've sworn that she had seen something sparkling in the moonlight. It was very small anyways, and after all, she was too happy to care.
A moment later, Jans' parents emerged from the house. Keys in hand, Robert began to secure each of the door's three locks. As they walked to the car, Jans gladly opened the door from inside.
"Say your last goodbyes to the house, Jans. You won't be seeing it for a week."
OOC: I know this is something rather unexpected, but be assured it won't actually have much effect on the world's current situation (As of the time of its conception). It's all for your reading pleasure. Enjoy! 😉