In this industry we all become very familiar with airport codes, most of us have flown into LAX or out of LHR – but has it ever crossed your mind why some airports have codes that don’t immediately make sense?

The assignment of airport codes is administered by the Montreal-based International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the codes cover airports around the globe.

A lot of these codes are pretty obvious; CDG stands for Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris, and HAM is for Hamburg.

But what about LAX — where did that “X” come from? It goes back to the early days of passenger air travel when airports simply used the same two letter codes that the National Weather Service used for cities, never dreaming they’d ever need more letters for more combinations. When they did, some airports simply added an “X” to their name, and that’s why you have LAX or PHX for Phoenix.

Alaska has some fantastic airport codes.  Flying is the main method of transportation here, since 82% of Alaska’s communities are not served by roads. While Alaska has big airports like Ted Stevens International in Anchorage (ANC), the state  also has 253 rural airports — many of them one-runway affairs with landing strips made of dirt or gravel. And great code names.

Like EEK, a fitting code for the little community of Eek in western Alaska. Then there’s WOW for Willow, GNU for Goodnews Bay and UNK for Unalakleet Airport.

Malaga Airport didn’t want to take its first three letters from the city name as “mal” means bad in Spanish. Instead it is known as AGP, taking ‘AG’ from the middle of the word and filling with the letter ‘P’.

Dubai’s DXB code came about because it would have otherwise been DUB – which is the same code as Dublin and of course that can’t happen. A visit to Norway’s Bodo Airport on Halloween would be very fitting – with its code BOO!

Iowa’s Sioux City airport ended up with the unfortunate three letter code SUX and have tried to change it many times. Now it has embraced the name with the tag line ‘Fly Sux’ and they even have a great line in “SUX” merchandise!

There are many more funny, unfortunate or just downright odd airport codes all over the world, we’d love to hear if you’ve ever flown out of an OMG or into a LOL – just drop us a line!