Generally, the first letter of ICAO airport codes indicates the region an airport is in.

Map of the first letter of ICAO codes

There are a few exceptions, though most can be easily explained. However, I have not been able to find any documentation on why Kosovo's Pristina International Airport has ICAO code BKPR, geographically putting it in the Arctic (compare to Keflavík International Airport BIKF) while the rest of south Europe has code beginning with L (compare to Istanbul Airport LTFM)

Perhaps it has to do with the fact that Kosovo isn't an ICAO member?


1 Answer 1


Looking at your linked list, you see the simple issue that they ran out of L's. LA through LZ have been assigned.

E's are still available, but that would cause an out-of-geography country. B's as an overflow seem to be the choice they made. A factor is there's relatively little traffic to Greenland and Iceland, so the disruption in the B's come up less than with E's.

  • $\begingroup$ If you look at the list you mentioned, you can see that the other "late comers" had to contend with the letters that were still left, even though they don't fit the country names: LD - Croatia, LJ - Slovenia, LQ - Bosnia and Herzegovina, LU - Moldova, LW - North Macedonia etc. $\endgroup$
    – rob74
    Commented Aug 23, 2023 at 20:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Also using the B prefix lets them use K for Kosovo. That would not be possible with the E prefix (EK is Denmark). $\endgroup$
    – TooTea
    Commented Aug 23, 2023 at 22:07
  • $\begingroup$ It isn't unheard of for countries to have the same two-letter prefix (ex. FM for Comoros and Madagascar, or more relevant LY for Serbia and Montenegro. Montenegro became independent from Serbia in 2006, while Kosovo declared independence in 2008, so why wouldn't Kosovo share Serbia's code just like Montenegro?). $\endgroup$
    – astroleaf
    Commented Aug 24, 2023 at 4:50
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    $\begingroup$ @astroleaf Serbia and Kosovo aren't apt to share anything. Serbia doesn't recognize Kosovo. They kind of had a war in 1998 that killed thousands. NATO still has troops in Kosovo today to keep things under control. Additionally, Kosovo isn't universally recognized by other countries, having to share is a sign of the ICAO/UN saying it's not a legitimate state. The relationship between Serbia and Montenegro is very different. $\endgroup$
    – user71659
    Commented Aug 24, 2023 at 6:19

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