Airport code origins

Ever wonder why Newark International Airport has the three letter code EWR? This article explains it all: Airport Codes: History and Explanation. In the case of Newark, it turns out that the Navy lobbied to have the initial letter N all to itself, so Newark had to make do without it. Similarly the letter W is off limits as a first letter. Why? Because the FCC says that radio stations east of the Mississippi get to start with W. Fair enough, but I wouldn’t have guessed that airports codes had to swim in the same bathtub as radio stations. As a result, the Wilmington airport in North Carolina limps by with a flaccid ILM. I always wondered…

5 thoughts on “Airport code origins”

  1. yeah ! yeah! yeah!
    can you explain to me why Portland International Airport was coded PDX?

  2. woops, and now it comes full circle, here I am pointing to the page that Ned originally blogged .. how silly of me


  3. I think I know why PDX is PDX. Earlier airports had two letters until the popularity rose in the 30s and the 3-letter concept came to be. So all former two letter codes received an X at the end. The same goes for LAX and PHX.

  4. airport code
    what does the w mean in uk and ireland
    some say it means west some say no
    thanks mike

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