Airport Identifiers


New member
Jun 15, 2002
Total Time
What does the K in front of the airport mean(Example (KCVG)? Does it mean that you can get Customs at that particular airport?

Marmaduke McPug

Active member
Jun 13, 2002
Total Time
Airlines use the three-letter codes internationally in their own network, Sita, for messages such as passenger loads and departure times. World ATC and weather agencies use a separate teleprinter network, the Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunications Network (AFTN), which uses a four-letter "location indicator." Going from large area to actual airport, the first letter relates to the part of the world and the second letter the country. The third letter is a group of airports within that country. Most countries who use this particular convention use a letter to denote the FIR in which the airport is located. So F is Frankfurt FIR in Germany, M is Munich; P is Paris FIR, M is Marseilles. Other ways to use the third letter include identifying a group of airports with a common factor. For example, A was used in Germany for all Canadian and American air force bases. The last letter positively identifies a specific airport.

Thus Aberdeen, Scotland, has the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) location indicator of EGPD -- E for Northern Europe, G for United Kingdom, P for Scottish region, and D for Dyce field. Want to figure out LFPG? It's L for southern Europe, F for France, P for Paris FIR, and G for Charles de Gaulle airport. Easy! One more example is EDMM. E for northern Europe, D for Deutchland (Germany), M for Munchen (Munich) FIR, and M again for the Munich airport.

So if London Heathrow has two codes -- and it does, LHR and EGLL -- how come I've heard Chicago O'Hare only called ORD? The answer is unique to the United States. Here the ICAO code is formed simply by adding a "K" to a Sita code. This explains why international flight plans refer to KORD, KMIA, KJFK, etc.