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Difference between revisions of "Forum:Global and regional issues/The two systems of airport codes"

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:::: An idea - what about making the WAAT code four letters? I'm in favor of keeping it instead of ANACA, I'm in agreement with what Ernest said, but I think that the three letter code can be limiting sometimes, especially if two airport names are really similar, one of them is going to get the short end of the stick and end up with a code that doesn't make as much sense for it. Making it four letters could also increase the ease of understanding, so that if you see a code, it's easier to know which airport it is. And it does give more combinations. Either way, 4 or 3 letter abbreviations aside, I'm all for dropping ANACA from general use (I suppose it could still be used as a placeholder as Mayor suggested) and using WAAT. --[[User:Lithium|Lithium-Ion]] ([[User talk:Lithium|talk]]) 21:48, 23 November 2021 (UTC)
 
:::: An idea - what about making the WAAT code four letters? I'm in favor of keeping it instead of ANACA, I'm in agreement with what Ernest said, but I think that the three letter code can be limiting sometimes, especially if two airport names are really similar, one of them is going to get the short end of the stick and end up with a code that doesn't make as much sense for it. Making it four letters could also increase the ease of understanding, so that if you see a code, it's easier to know which airport it is. And it does give more combinations. Either way, 4 or 3 letter abbreviations aside, I'm all for dropping ANACA from general use (I suppose it could still be used as a placeholder as Mayor suggested) and using WAAT. --[[User:Lithium|Lithium-Ion]] ([[User talk:Lithium|talk]]) 21:48, 23 November 2021 (UTC)
 
:::::I like this option. Adds more total options and reduces the "short end of the stick" phenomenon Lithium mentioned. It might be especially good for cities with multiple airports or that use their name rather than city name for the WAAT code. But some may be easier to adjust to match than others- for mine it works pretty well (QSBD and QMAT, for example) but I'd want to hear other people's thoughts on their airports/codes and how it would affect them/their naming/how easy it would be to adjust. --[[User:Ernestpkirby|Ernestpkirby]] ([[User talk:Ernestpkirby|talk]]) 01:43, 24 November 2021 (UTC)
 
:::::I like this option. Adds more total options and reduces the "short end of the stick" phenomenon Lithium mentioned. It might be especially good for cities with multiple airports or that use their name rather than city name for the WAAT code. But some may be easier to adjust to match than others- for mine it works pretty well (QSBD and QMAT, for example) but I'd want to hear other people's thoughts on their airports/codes and how it would affect them/their naming/how easy it would be to adjust. --[[User:Ernestpkirby|Ernestpkirby]] ([[User talk:Ernestpkirby|talk]]) 01:43, 24 November 2021 (UTC)
 +
:::::Airports getting "the short end of the stick" in terms of abbreviations happens all the time in the real world; there's no shortage of major airports that end up with airport codes that are legacies from way back when that make little to no sense in modern context. If we go a four-character code, there should be some sort of symbolism attached to at least one of the positions (e.g., first letter denotes the country/region the airport is in); otherwise, we should stick with the more familiar three-character code, at least for major airports. -[[User:TheMayor|TheMayor]] ([[User talk:TheMayor|talk]]) 02:18, 24 November 2021 (UTC)

Revision as of 02:18, 24 November 2021

ForumsGlobal and regional issues → Global and regional issues/The two systems of airport codes


Since we're starting afresh with the new wiki, one of the things I would like to bring up is the two systems of airport codes that we have (WAAT and ANACA). I understand that in the real world we have IATA and ICAO that both have listings of codes (not to mention internal codes used in larger jurisdictions like France, Russia, and the US). Looking at the history of how these codes developed, my feeling is that it happened more through bureaucratic means with a small intent to create regional divisions. My feeling is that, for much of what we do, the systems are basically redundant. Yes, I recognize that their usages in the real world are slightly distinct, but this is only because organizations have kept them that way. They didn't have to evolve into distinct entities.

Do we really need to copy the real-world parallel here? I'm open to ideas as to why we could or should, but I'm wondering if a four-letter system based on regionality (as an example) might have developed naturally early on. The three-letter code grants us over 17,000 options globally; doing a four-letter code grants those 17,000 options for each region. This means we're unlikely to run out anytime soon on either system.

Thus, my proposal is two-fold: if there is a desire for a regionally-oriented airport code, then we should default to the four-letter code altogether; if there is not, then we default to the three-letter code. I personally don't care which way we go, but I don't believe it is necessary to have two systems in place.

Thanks, everyone for your feedback! If there's a consensus starting to form below, we'll proceed accordingly. — Alessa (talk) 17:35, 23 November 2021 (UTC)

I'm a little torn here. It does seem somewhat logical that the four-letter codes would be the standard if only one is chosen as it allows for a larger overall number and has fewer conflicts. On the other hand though, I've always felt like the four-letter systems, at least as we have them set up right now, don't really work nearly as well for quickly recognizable individual branding/airport identity as the three-letter ones.
Just using mine as an example, Quentinsburgh Sean Bond International Airport in 3 letter is SBD- pretty straightforward. But in 4 letters its MFSB, where it's like "region M in a country that starts with F- oh Freedemia, guessing the SB means Sean Bond". Jhuandan's even more explicitly like this because the 3-letter code effectively is the city abbreviation- JHD. But the 4 letter code would be something like MFJH or MFJD which to me means nothing.
Maybe I'm just used to the way it is in the US where the three letters are standard for everything from airports to Amtrak stations, but I don't see the current 4 letter code system being as intuitive from the passenger or branding sides, even if they work better from a logistical behind the scenes standpoint for airport administrators or OGF convenience. --Ernestpkirby (talk) 17:52, 23 November 2021 (UTC)
That's an excellent point, Ernest. This is why, if I had to choose, I'd lean toward just using three-letter codes with something else for general aviation. The original codes in our world were developed for easy identification, and this has led to branding. I also don't see why we couldn't "expand the pot" by incorporating numbers in for things even if only for general aviation (2FD). Four-letter codes are basically a regional cataloguing system and too opaque for most people, also. — Alessa (talk) 17:59, 23 November 2021 (UTC)
I agree, ANACA codes aren't really needed. We're in no immediate risk of running out of WAAT codes, even if we don't add numerals to non-commercial airports (which is something I suggested way back when for FSA GA airports). Plus I don't think we've really done an "audit" of WAAT codes, and I'm guessing there's no small numbers of airports we could purge from lost nations.
Another option to consider: we could keep ANACA codes as the "default" self-serve code system for global airports, but restrict WAAT three-letter codes to airports that are actually reasonably mapped rather than just a node. -TheMayor (talk) 18:29, 23 November 2021 (UTC)
An idea - what about making the WAAT code four letters? I'm in favor of keeping it instead of ANACA, I'm in agreement with what Ernest said, but I think that the three letter code can be limiting sometimes, especially if two airport names are really similar, one of them is going to get the short end of the stick and end up with a code that doesn't make as much sense for it. Making it four letters could also increase the ease of understanding, so that if you see a code, it's easier to know which airport it is. And it does give more combinations. Either way, 4 or 3 letter abbreviations aside, I'm all for dropping ANACA from general use (I suppose it could still be used as a placeholder as Mayor suggested) and using WAAT. --Lithium-Ion (talk) 21:48, 23 November 2021 (UTC)
I like this option. Adds more total options and reduces the "short end of the stick" phenomenon Lithium mentioned. It might be especially good for cities with multiple airports or that use their name rather than city name for the WAAT code. But some may be easier to adjust to match than others- for mine it works pretty well (QSBD and QMAT, for example) but I'd want to hear other people's thoughts on their airports/codes and how it would affect them/their naming/how easy it would be to adjust. --Ernestpkirby (talk) 01:43, 24 November 2021 (UTC)
Airports getting "the short end of the stick" in terms of abbreviations happens all the time in the real world; there's no shortage of major airports that end up with airport codes that are legacies from way back when that make little to no sense in modern context. If we go a four-character code, there should be some sort of symbolism attached to at least one of the positions (e.g., first letter denotes the country/region the airport is in); otherwise, we should stick with the more familiar three-character code, at least for major airports. -TheMayor (talk) 02:18, 24 November 2021 (UTC)