The airport code is a three letter designator for a commercial airport,
or other travel point -- e.g. a large bus station. These are the codes that airlines
and pilots use to identify airports and are used in timetables, baggage tags, tickets,
advertisements, Airline and Global Reservation Systems. There are approximately 9,000
of them in use of a total of 17,576 available. IATA in Geneva is responsible for the
designation of these codes. Many people ask me how many aiports are there by country, here's
a link to a chart that shows you.
Each country has an intuitive two-letter alpha code that is used in
data bases around the world not only by airlines, but by shipping companies, phone
companies and any company that has a global reach.
Each country also has a number in all those databases which follow
a pattern of:
000-099: USA -- in this data base the number corresponds
to a state
100-199: Central America
300-399: South America
600-699: Middle East
700-799: Asia, Russian Federation and Indian Sub Continent
I don't know who devised these and why they are different from telephone country codes,
but they are.
This is how many hours this city is away from the Grenwich Meridian
in jolly old London, England without accounting for adjustments for daylight savings
time. So for example, a GMT offset of -3 means that at 3pm in London, it is 6:00pm
in that city, and a +6 means that it would be 9:00am in that city. GMT means Greenwich
Mean Time, or Greenwich Meridian Time.
Runway Length and Elevation
This data is a little old and may not have the latest distance of the
runway in ft, or be updated for a new runway. So if you're a pilot planning to land
a plane here, please don't blame me if the runway has been shortened. I also only
have the data for about 8,000 of the 9,000 airports. The distances (in feet) are important
for pilots because bigger planes need longer runways to take off and land. The elevation
(in feet also) is important to know because the air gets thinner the higher you are
and thus it requires more speed (or less weight) to get the lift under the wings to
take off, and more speed generally requires a greater runway length. Airlines have
to study carefully each aircraft/route/runway combination to make sure that it's aircraft
can successfully take off from an airport and fly the intended route with varying
loads of passengers and cargo. In some extreme cases like La Paz in Bolivia aircraft
have to be modified because at 13,000 ft, the altitude is so high that if you were
to open the door of normal jet-plane on arrival, all the oxygen masks would deploy
as the sensors would think that the plane had depressurized.
Most people know that the world is divided up into a set of numerical
references that describe your position somewhere on the face of this planet. Most
people however who have a GPS device have absolutely no idea how to use these coordinates.
Hopefully, if you have a GPS device and take a reading where you are (near a big city),
it should match the data in this data base. If not, either you are terribly lost,
your GPS has malfunctioned, or my data is wrong. Furthermore you have seen the lines
drawn on maps of the world that circle the globe horizontally and vertically -- these
are the major lines of latitude and longitude. Because this planet is nearly spherical,
the lines are divided up into measurements called degrees, minutes and seconds which
are similar to angles of a circle but in three dimensions. These numbers help pilots
and captains navigate, and nowadays car companies use them to offer in-car products
to people who don't know how to read a map. I use them to calculate an approximate
flight time and distance between two points on the globe and hopefully will soon include
this feature on this web-site.
If there's a city or an airport missing, or an incorrect code, please
let me know. You may find a few errors and a few new airports not yet added. So sticklers
for perfection will have to bear with me.
Site last updated December, 2004
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