The International Air Transport Association (IATA), in conjunction with national aviation authorities like our FAA, maintains the master list of three-letter airport designations throughout the world. (Another group, the International Civil Aviation Organization, maintains a parallel set of four-letter codes that pilots use. For example, the IATA code for London's Heathrow is LHR, but the ICAO code is EGLL.)
The Chicago Tribune has a story today about unexpected and unusual IATA codes:
The good people of Sioux City, Iowa, just don't get any respect.
For more than a century, the city was best known for an omnipresent smell, an unpleasant byproduct of the massive stockyards that drove the local economy. Meat packers would tell their children, "That's the smell of money."
David Letterman used to joke about the town, back in the days when the local CBS television station was not carrying "The Late Show." Letterman would introduce his Top 10 list, saying it had just arrived "from the home office in Sioux City, Iowa."
And then there was -- and still is -- the Sioux Gateway Airport's ignominious three-letter identifying code: SUX. For decades, city fathers have moaned about the label. In 2002, the mayor labeled it "an embarrassment."
Dave Bernstein has heard all the jokes during his 42 years in Sioux City. But, unlike some other residents, he has taken to heart the old adage about what to do when life hands you lemons. He's making T-shirts -- emblazoned with two words: "Fly SUX."
And let's not forget Fukuoka, Japan....