Sunday, August 30, 2009


Skyscanner recently published a list of the world's airports, recognized by the International Air Transport Assn. (IATA) with the most unusual names. The airport names that follow are real.

Holy Cats! You can see the masked crusader at Batman Airport (BAL) in the oil producing Anatolian area of Eastern Turkey. The mayor of Batman, a largely Kurdish city of 250,000, announced recently that he was suing Warner Bros. and The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan for using the Caped Crusader's name without the city's permission. According to Variety, Huseyin Kalkan, the mayor of this provincial capital, located by the Batman River in the predominantly Kurdish Batman province of Turkey, wants royalties from the blockbuster film, presumably to balance the city's budget. The mayor said, "There is only one Batman in the world. The American producers used the name of our city without informing us." (Note: The comic strip character was created in 1939 when the City of Batman was a small backwater town.) The mayor also claimed that the film's influence caused a large number of unsolved murders and a high female suicide rate. His investigation may want to look into the high volume of flights between BAL and Mafia Airport (MFA).

Mafia Airport (MFA), is not the other Las Vegas airport or even the final resting place of Jimmy Hoffa, but rather is a resort area of Tanzania in Africa. Mafia Island is a 30 minute flight from Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania and is located just off the coast in the Indian Ocean. Don't skip out of your resort or your plane without paying the bill; you probably don't want anyone from Mafia coming to pay a visit. The locals (called Mafiosos?) have been reported to fly to Crooked Island Airport (CRI) in Canada.

If you fear flying, don't fly to Eek Airport (EEK) in Alaska. Flying can be scary enough without venturing into Eek, a traditional Yupik Eskimo village of 287 souls on the Bering Sea. Eek means "two eyes" in the loacl Eskimo dialect. Hopefully your pilot isn't from Chicken (CKY) on the other side of Alaska. If he is, you're in trouble. The major industry in Chicken, a town of 37, is an RV park. It's located on the Alaska Highway, 80 miles Northeast of Tok. Got it? The early gold miner settlers wanted to name the town after the ptarmigan, a chicken like bird common in the area, but nobody was able to spell it, so they settled on Chicken.

You may not think your ticket agent is the sharpest knife in the drawer, but when you're flying out of Moron Airport (MXV), on Mongolian airlines, you might be right. Your pilot will probably need to stop and ask for directions to get there. But don't ask the native Morons (Moronians?). I saw the map on the Internet, and I still can't figure out where it is. Moron is the home of the famous Naadam Festival where the natives engage in wrestling matches (the women too!), oblivious to the frequent sandstorms. Another event is 30 km. horse races in which the jockeys are young kids riding without saddles. The race is grueling and horses often don't make it. (And we thought Arlington Park was bad!) But, fortunately, injuries to the riders are rare. From Moron, its a quick hop to Ulan Bator, the remote capital of Mongolia.

Before flying out of Old Crow Airport (YOC) in the Northern Yukon, you might want to down a bottle of Old Crow. The town of Old Crow, hard by the Porcupine River, is inaccessible by road, but is serviced by Air North, partly owned by the indigenous Vuntut Gwitchin tribe, which runs scheduled flights to Fairbanks and Dawson City, as well as Inuvik on the Arctic Ocean.

Keep your head down at Duck Airport (DUF) on North Carolina's Outer Banks, as the planes come in low. Nearby is a herd of wild mustangs. Fortunately they don't go to Deadhorse Airport (SCC) which is far away on the North Slope of Alaska. The reality show Ice Road Truckers is filmed there.

Canada certainly has its share of unusual names like Flin Flon (YFO), Manitoba which is the home town of Chicago Blackhawks legendary goalie Glenn Hall. There is a highway that goes there, but Flin Flon is hundreds of miles from anywhere, and you pretty much have to fly there. How about Moose Jaw (YMJ), Saskatchawan. Canada also has Black Tickle Airport (YBI) and Pickle Lake Airport (YPJ), and maybe you could incorporate those into a poem.

You'd probably want to avoid Slave Lake Airport (YZH) where the 13th Amendment doesn't apply, or Asbestos Hill Airport (YAF) where it is suggested you avoid drinking the water or breathing the air. Fire your travel agent if he wants to book you there.

Watch your language at Dang Airport (DNP) in Nepal, or Fukui Airport (FKJ) in Japan.

Some of the airport codes can be a little weird. If your luggage tag says "SEX" you must be going for a good time at Sembach Airport in Germany, the site of a U.S. Air Force base. If you're on a diet, stay away from "FAT" which is Fresno Yosemite Airport in the agricultural Central Valley of California. On the other hand "EAT" is the Wenatchee Airport in the State of Washington. Panhandling might be a problem at "BUM" which is Butler Airport near Kansas City, MO. "POO" doesn't scare away the tourists from Pocos de Caldas, a resort city of 146,000 in Southeast Brazil. "PEE" is the designation of Perm Airport in Eastern Russia. Perm, which was called Molotov during the Soviet era, is an industrial city of 1 million inhabitants near the Ural Mountains. If you're a Simpsons fan, you can fly to "DOH" located in Doha, Qatar, in Arabia.

I hope you've had enough for today.




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