10 Quirky Airport Codes

by Anthony Losanno

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Airport codes generally reference a city’s name or are a nod to the historical figure they’re named after. Most make sense and are easy to determine, but some stand out as odd and unexpected. From humorous puns to references to local landmarks, here are some of the quirkiest airport codes in the world.


1. Helsinki-Vantaa Airport (HEL)

The Helsinki airport’s code is fittingly similar to the Finnish word helvetti, which means hell. This is likely a coincidence, as the code is based on the city’s name, but it’s still an amusing coincidence.


2. Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA)

This airport code is an acronym for Leeds Bradford Airport, but it can also be interpreted as Lost Baggage Area.


3. Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport (YOW)

This airport code is a representation of the city’s name plus the Y was chosen to show that the airport was co-located with a weather reporting station. It’s also been said that the code was chosen because it sounds like an owl, which is fitting since Ottawa is known as the City of Owls.


4. Bodø Airport (BOO)

This Norwegian airport code might sound spooky, but it’s actually named after the nearby town of Bodø. Don’t be scared, there are no ghosts to be found.


5. Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport (GUM)

The code GUM is short for Guam, but I’m sure you immediately thought of Hubba Bubba or Juicy Fruit when hearing the word gum.


6. Barra Airport (BRR)

This small airport in Scotland uses the code BRR, which is a nod to its remote location on the Isle of Barra and not how cold it is there.


7. Pula Airport (PUY)

This Pula Airport code is a reference to the nearby Croatian city of Pula. However, the code also sounds like the word puke, making it an unsettling choice.


8. Funafuti International Airport (FUN)

The South Pacific island of Tuvalu has claimed the airport code FUN. Funafuti is the capital city of the island nation of Tuvalu and this is the only international airport in the tiny country.

9. Yuma International Airport (YUM)

This airport code might imitate a noise you make after eating something tasty, but it’s named after the city where it resides.

10. Tambillos Airport (COW)

Coquimbo, Chile holds this bovine-inspired airport code. This port city is home to 400,000 residents and not known for its beef.

Anthony’s Take: Airport codes can be weird, amusing, and sometimes unexpected. Whether you’re a frequent flyer or a curious traveler, keep an eye out for unique airport codes on your next trip.

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I Love Dan March 19, 2023 - 12:54 pm

No list is complete without Fukuoka’s airport code.

Mike M March 22, 2023 - 7:24 pm

The infamous response to a common question ……

“I’m flying in to FUK”

I Love Dan March 19, 2023 - 12:54 pm

No list is complete without Fukuoka’s airport code.

T March 19, 2023 - 1:09 pm

The Finnish word for hell is helvetti, not hel.
And how is Singapore not on this list?

Frankfurt Airport Lufthansa
Anthony Losanno March 19, 2023 - 3:03 pm

I updated helvetti. Thanks!

I’ll do a part 2 with SIN and some others. 🙂

D.A. March 19, 2023 - 5:35 pm

How about “FAT” for Fresno?

Ben March 22, 2023 - 8:07 pm

How about “BOB” for Bora Bora or less fun, “BEN” for Bengazi.

Pedro Paulo Cabral March 23, 2023 - 4:12 am

GIG – Rio International Airport -Rio Galeão – Antonio Carlos Jobim


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