MAY 2021


Did you ever wonder why airports have these strange codes?  What does CYYZ mean and why did Toronto choose those letters to ID the airport?

So “Y” do (most).. Canadian airport have the letter Y in them?

A little background.   Airports around the world have commonly used three letter codes, which in some cases are an abbreviation of the name of the city it serves (like Palm Beach International – KPBI or Houston – KHOU), or of important people (like John F Kennedy – KJKF or Vincent LaGuardia – KLGA, both in New York City).

There are two organizations that catalogue airport ID codes and set standards around the world.   The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and The International Air Transport Association, (IATA) which is now based in Montreal but was founded in Cuba in 1945. The ICAO code is used by pilots for navigation, flight planning and weather services.  The IATA code is for travel agents and the airlines.

Originally Canadian airports had a two letter ID, which was enough when there were only a few airports. As air travel became common, Canadian airports began to use 3 and now 4-letter codes, typically begin with the letter “C”.   It is also thought that the reason the letter Y is used for all (or most) Canadian airports, is that the letter “Y” indicated there was a weather reporting station at the airport or close by.   Y = yes for weather.

To further explain how these codes were further developed let’s break down CYYZ and explore the reason “Y”.

(C) YYZ – Toronto Pearson International Airport

The C is for Canada, Y is for (we think) for weather reporting.  As for the ‘YZ’ part, that dates all the way back to the Morse Code railway stations along the Canadian National Railway, which had two-letter identifiers. The code for the station in Malton, Ontario, was YZ, which is where Pearson sits today—hence YYZ.   And you thought that RUSH made this all up and sang a song about it…….

Over the years the airport code has become a badge that people wear to tell the world, I have been there! or I sure like going there!

The country ID for the United States is “K” Why?  No reason, the letter was just assigned that way.  Other countries are identified by the following letters, M for Mexico, U for Russia, E for Europe and so on.

Here are a few popular destinations for private jet charter and the stories behind their airport code.

(K) MCO – Orlando International Airport

The gateway airport to Central Florida was originally home to the McCoy Air Force Base, named after Colonel Michael Norman Wright McCoy, who was killed in a jet crash in 1957. After the base closed in 1975, it became Orlando’s main airport. The M, C and O come from the name McCoy.

(K) MSY – Louis Armstrong International Airport, New Orleans

The New Orleans airport was originally named Moisant Field after John Bevins Moisant.  known as the “King of Aviators”.  One of his many accomplishments was the first pilot to carry passengers across the English Channel.  The airport is located on what was previously known as Moisant Stock Yards, hence the MSY airport code. It was renamed Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport in 2001 to honor the jazz musician’s 100th birthday.

(K) ECP – Everyone Can Party – Panama City, Florida

Opened in 2010, Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport had their eyes set on IATA code TFB, standing for “The Florida Beaches” only to find out that a small airport in Papua New Guinea already laid claim to the three-letter ID. Airport officials went down the list of available codes and selected ECP, “Everyone Can Party” for attracting spring and summer revelers.

(K) OGG – Maui

Kahului Airport’s code recognizes Hawaiian Airlines pilot Captain Bertram “Jimmy” Hogg. Hogg flew the company’s first trans-Pacific flight and to highlight the aviation pioneer, Maui’s major airport was then honored with the OGG code in 1957.

Whether you are flying to (C)YVR Vancouver, (K) MIA Miami, or even (C) JS4 Moose Jaw Municipal in Saskatchewan – which does not have a IATA or ICAO code – Private Jet Charter will get you closer to your destination with over 5,000 airports in North America that service private business jets!

When the time is right.  We look forward to answering your questions and showing you how jet charter will help you take back the skies!  Please contact us at or (905) 677-6901 to discuss your next trip.



stay updated

Exclusive updates from Skycharter