Five Stunning Airport Facts
Did you know that the air above your head is controlled by air traffic control in airport towers? Or that every airport has a unique code determined by its location? Read on for more facts about airport that not many people know about.
1 Airport codes
Next to a standard name, almost every single airport has two codes, one IATA and one ICAO code. The IATA (International Air Transport Association) code is a three-letter code that is not too hard to link with the airport name itself. For example, the code BRU stands for Brussels Airport (Belgium). Most passengers are familiar with the codes of the airports they frequently fly to, as this code is printed on your boarding ticket. The IATA updates these codes three times a year and publishes them for use by pilots and airports.
However, the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) code is much more important when it comes to air traffic control. The ICAO code of an airport consists of 4 letters, that all have a special meaning. The first letter refers to the geographical zone the airport is located in, such as an E for Northern Europe, K for the US, F for Southern Africa, etc. The second letter refers to the country, and is usually the first letter of that country. And last but not least, the third and fourth letters refer to the airport itself. Let’s take a look at the Brussels Airport example again. The ICAO code of Brussels Airport is EBBR. The E stands for Northern Europe, the B for Belgium and the BR for Brussels. These codes are always used by pilots and air traffic controllers over the radio and are much lesser known by the public.
The airs that we breathe and that aircraft fly through is divided into seven airspace classes, from A to G. Classes F and G are uncontrolled and can be flown in freely, without any interference of air traffic control. The other airspace classes do have certain restrictions. The severity of rules increases from E to A. Generally, these airspaces have a starting and an ending height that may differ between countries. For example, class A airspace in the US contains all the airspace between 18,000ft and 60,000 ft.