Airport codes: Addictive site covers it from AAL to ZRH

Chuck Thompson, CNNUpdated 8th June 2015
(CNN) — Ever wondered why the designation for Vancouver International Airport is YVR? What the story is behind the ignominious SUX abbreviation for Sioux City, Iowa?
Where those unique three-letter airport codes came from, anyway? No? Don't worry.
A couple of airport trivia nuts have done all the thinking for you and set up a super-cool website explaining the origins of what are known as IATA (International Air Transport Association) Location Identifier Codes around the world.
Launched on March 11 as the brainchild of a pair of friends in Arizona, Airport Codes has us diverting more time from work this week than our Facebook feeds or sneaking out for two-hour lunches.
After working our way through most of the entries on the site, we reached out to creators Lynn Fisher, a designer and developer, and Nick Crohn, a software engineer, to get the story behind the stories behind airport codes.
CNN: What's the inspiration for the site?
Airport codes co-creator Lynn Fisher: "The response has been awesome."
Lynn Fisher: A few years ago I heard someone talk about the rationale behind airport codes and ever since I've found it interesting.
After a Google search I realized there wasn't really a place that explained them all.
So we decided to make a site that did just that.
CNN: What's the goal of the site?
Fisher: It's definitely just a fun project.
We don't have any plans to commercialize it.
We're happy with sharing the neat information we find.
CNN: What's the response been so far?
Nick Crohn: Since launching on March 11th, we've had about 245,000 visitors.
Lots of people (and airports) have contributed via GitHub and tweeted codes at us.
We are excited so many people have found it interesting and are working hard to keep up with the submissions.
CNN: Which airport codes draw the most attention?
Fisher: The Canadian airports are very popular because many of them don't seem to make any sense.
CNN: Which have the most intriguing back stories?
Fisher: One of my favorites is definitely SUX (Sioux City, Iowa).
It's not a great code and after petitioning to change it twice, they decided to embrace it.
Their slogan is "Fly SUX."
Crohn: I'm going to go with ORD [Chicago's O'Hare International Airport].
I like how it's so different from O'Hare and hints at the airport's history.
That's probably one of the things that's most enjoyable about the codes. They are keys to the airport's history.
Airport codes co-creator Nick Crohn is a software engineer for Olark.
CNN: How did the whole three-letter code thing begin anyway?
Fisher: Weather stations had unique two-letter identifiers and as airports grew and increased in number, they switched to three-letter codes.
A podcast called "Layovers" recently talked more in-depth about this. Here's the link. At the bottom is the podcast and the time that part of the conversation happens.
CNN: Are there any codes for which there isn't a reasonable explanation?
Crohn: We're still pretty stumped about a lot of Canadian airport codes. We've reached out to a few and even they aren't sure where their codes came from.
Some of them seem like a completely random pick.
CNN: Can people contribute stories behind airports not listed on your site?
Fisher: Yes! We have a long list of airports to add, and we're excited for every suggestion!
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