Strangest Airport Names
Monday, March 11, 2019
Every major airport has a unique IATA airport code, it’s those 3 letter codes displayed on baggage tags.
Airport codes arose out of the convenience that it brought pilots for location identification in the 1930s. Initially, pilots in the United States used the two-letter code from the National Weather Service (NWS) for identifying cities.
This system became unmanageable for cities and towns without an NWS identifier, thus a three-letter system of airport codes was implemented. This system allowed for 17,576 permutations, assuming all letters can be used in conjunction with each other.
At a glance they can seem fairly unobtrusive and boring, but hidden among them are a few questionable airport names.
BAL - Batman Airport
Serving the southeastern city of Batman in Turkey, the small three airline single runway airport handles just 175,000 passengers a year.
In 2008, it’s mayor Huseyin Kalkan announced that he was planning lawsuits against makers of the Dark Knight trilogy over the use of his town’s name without consent.
In the end, nothing ever materialised. PR stunt? Probably. But it may also be because the Batman comics appeared in early 1939, roughly two decades before the city got its name.
MFA - Mafia Airport
Found on Mafia Island in the Rwani Region of Tanzania, Mafia Airport is a small regional airport servicing it’s roughly 40,000 residents.
Rather than being home to old mob bosses on the run from the law, the island is renowned as a world-class diving destination.
Scientists have confirmed that Mafia has some of the richest reefs in the world, with more than 460 species of rich and five different species of turtles.
PKP - Puka-Puka Airport
Situated in French Polynesia and serviced by only one airline, Air Tahiti, the tiny isolated atol in the Cook Islands is 182 km from it’s closest neighbours.
We can’t confirm if the 197 residents of Puka-Puka will have ever heard of him, but we’re sure that this small airport would win the seal of approval from TV chef Jamie Oliver.
EEK - Eek Airport
Located in western Alaska, Eek Airport is a state-owned public airport serving the city of Eek.
Primarily used for freight, in 2006 it was reported that 3,241 passengers were brave enough to look past it’s hair-raising name and bone-chilling temperatures. In winter, temperatures can plummet to −45.6 °C. FYI: Eek is derived from an Eskimo word meaning “two eyes”.
GLR - Gaylord Airport
A very old-fashioned name that came back into consciousness after the 2000 comedy Meet The Parents.
The village of Gaylord in Michigan is actually well known for its many skiing and golf resorts.
It was also the birthplace of Claude Shannon, also known as “the father of information theory”, whose work became the foundation of digital circuit design.
SDF - Louisville International Airport
We appreciate this may seem a little out of place, but let us explain…
Earlier this year the local Regional Airport Authority voted to change the name to Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport. In honour of the native boxer.
But what many don’t know is that the late great boxer was also deathly afraid of flying. So much so, that he never boarded a plane without his own personal parachute.
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