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International Aircraft Registration / Tail Number Country Codes

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International Aircraft Registration / Tail Number Country Codes

Explaining how international aircraft registration numbers work in terms of country prefixes which are listed both with country codes and countries in alphabetical order. Include history and news snippets about aviation, airlines and aircraft.
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From Where in the World is That Aircraft?

News: Jet Aircraft Running on Coal
On 21 September 2010, a Boeing 737 aircraft left Lanseria Airport (located west of Johannesburg, South Africa) with only fully synthetic jet fuel on board. This flight was a result of 14 years of research by South Africanbased company Sasol and the main ingredient of this fuel was coal. Sasol has a 60-year history in the development of synthetic fuels. In June 1996 Sasol began discussions with the UK Ministry of Defence (UK Mod), the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) and other authorities for the approval of semi synthetic jet aircraft fuel after Johannesburgs (what is now known as) Oliver Tambo International Airport experienced a shortage of jet aircraft fuel. The first batch of this new type of fuel which contains up to 50% of synthetic fuel mixed with conventional crude oil aircraft fuel was approved on 22 February 1999 and is in use at Oliver Tambo Airport from that time. The next time when you leave Johannesburg after your visit to South Africa, just take a moment to think about the fuel onboard the plane you are taking. It may contain a large percentage of synthetic fuel. If you come back in a few years time, you will maybe fly back on 100% synthetic jet aircraft fuel. Sasol's Website

Photo right: This commercial Boeing 737800s registration number is ZS-ZWO. Therefore, it is registered in SouthAfrica. It is in service at Kulula, one of the low-cost airlines. We live in a world with an international aviation industry. Our world's airports are filled with aircraft and airlines from around the globe. Did you ever stand on an airport and wonder from which countries all the planes came? If a particular aircraft belongs to an airline, which is a national carrier you have a way to know this from the airline's name. But what if it belongs to one of the many private airlines or is owned privately? Well aircraft's registration numbers or codes make things easier. These aircraft registration numbers are painted on the back of aircraft near the tail in the same area where you will usually found the manufacturer's name and model if it is a large commercial jet and therefore this code is sometimes referred to in the aviation industry as a tail number. You might say that you have seen these tail numbers on aircraft. The first few letters or numbers of a tail number are a prefix or code of the country in which it is registered. The tail registration country code for the United States of America (USA) is just N. Therefore, it is common practice in that country to refer to registration numbers on aircraft as n-numbers. Tail or n-numbers form part of an interesting international aviation registration system. Aircraft registration numbers which contain country prefixes are usually painted very large on aircraft and sometimes you will find the country in which it is registered flag in-front of it, but it isn't always the case. I've tried my best to list all the countries' prefixes used for aircraft registration. Because of the fact that all such indexes are listed by the country's name in alphabetical order, I have listed these country prefixes in aircraft registration as followed listed with the country's prefixes in alphabetical order, with numerical numbers before alphabetical letters.

Aircraft Registration Codes or Tail Numbers Which Begin With Numerical Numbers:

Registration Numbers 3-6 3B - Mauritius 5N - Nigeria 5R Madagascar

Registration Numbers 7-9 7O - Yemen 9H - Malta 9J - Zambia 9K - Kuwait


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5T - Mauritania 7Q - Malawi 7T - Algeria 5Y - Kenya 6V - Senegal 6y - Jamaica 8P - Barbados 8Q - Maldives 8R - Guyana 9A - Croatia 9G - Ghana

4R - Sri Lanka 4X - Israel 5A - Libya 5B - Cyprus 5H - Tanzania

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9L - Sierra Leone 9M - Malaysia 9N - Nepal 9Q - DRC 9V - Singapore 9Y - Trinidad & Tobago

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Tail Number or Aircraft Registration Prefixes Which Starts With Alphabetical Letters:

Extra-Info: A Runway of Gold

According to a book that was published by "Chris van Rensburg Publikasies (EDMS)" in 1986 to celebrate the 100th birthday of the city of Johannesburg (South Africa); the oldest runway at the city's Jan Smuts International Airport which is now known as the Oliver Tambo International Airport contains small quantities of gold. The city has a long history of gold mining since the 1880's. Most of the city's gravel comes from the gold mines and in the late 1940's and early 1950's when this airport was under construction, the technology to extract the gold out of the rock wasn't jet so advanced as it is today. That is how the city of Johannesburg got its golden runway. On 19 April 1952 this golden runway greeted a very special guest to South Africa when a prototype of the world's first commercial passenger jet aircraft, the de Havilland Comet touched down on it. In 1961 this original runway was lengthened from 3200m(3500yds) to 4420m(4830yds) to accommodate the new era of jet aircraft and aircraft like the Boeing 707 that came with it, which made passenger air travel more appealing. Because of the fact that the Oliver Tambo Airport is located more than 1600m above sea level the Comet wasn't the last prototype aircraft to visit this airport. Others like the Airbus A300 and Concord followed. It was also visited not that long ago by a prototype Airbus A380 aircraft.

Aircraft Registration Numbers A-E A2 - Botswana A40 - Oman A5 - Bhutan A6 - UAE A7 - Qatar AP - Pakistan

Aircraft Registration Numbers F-OE F - France F-O - French West Indies G - United Kingdom H4 - Solomon Islands HA - Hungary HB Switzerland HC - Ecuador HI - Dominican Republic HK - Colombia HL - South Korea HP - Panama HR - Honduras HS - Thailand HZ - Saudi Arabia I - Italy J2 - Djibouti JA - Japan JY - Jordan LN - Norway LV - Argentina LX Luxembourg LY - Lithuania LZ - Bulgaria M - Isle of Man N - USA OB - Peru OD - Lebanon OE - Austria

Aircraft Registration Numbers OH-T OH - Finland OK - Czech Republic OM - Slovakia OO - Belgium OY - Denmark

Aircraft Registration Numbers U-Z UK - Uzbekistan UR - Ukraine

BChina/Taiwan C - Canada C2 - Nauru C5 - Gambia C6 - Bahamas CC - Chile CN - Morocco CP - Bolivia CR-M - Macao CS - Portugal CU - Cuba CX - Uruguay

V2 - Antigua V5 - Namibia V7 - Marshall Islands P2 - Papua New V8 - Brunei Guineu VH - Australia P4 - Aruba VN - Vietnam PH VP-F - Falklands Netherlands VR-B - Bermuda PJ VR-C - Cayman Netherlands Islands Antilles VR-H - Hong PK - Indonesia Kong (Former PP - Brazil reg.) PZ - Suriname VT - India RA - CIS* RP - Philippines S2 - Bangladesh S5 - Slovenia S7 - Seychelles S9 - Sao Tome SE - Sweden SP - Poland ST - Sudan SU - Egypt SX - Greece TC - Turkey TF - Iceland TG - Guatemala TI - Costa Rica TJ - Cameroon TN - Congo TR - Gabon TS - Tunisia TU - Ivory Coast XA - Mexico YA Afghanistan YI - Iraq YJ - Vanuatu YK - Syria YL - Latvia YR - Romania YS - El Salvador YU - Serbia YV - Venezuela

D - Germany D2 - Angola D4 - Cape Verde D6 - Comoros DM - ex East Germany DQ - Fiji EC - Spain EI - Ireland EL - Liberia EP - Iran ES - Estonia ET - Ethiopia EZ Turkmenistan

Z - Zimbabwe Z3 - Macedonia ZA - Albania ZK - New Zealand ZP - Paraguay ZS - South Africa

*Include aircraft registered in Russia and some other countries which formed part of the USSR

Aircraft Registration by Country:

Photo right: This private jet aircraft's registration number is N724AF, therefore it is registered in the United States of America. The photo was

International Aircraft Registration / Tail Number Country Codes

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taken at Lanseria Airport, west of Johannesburg, South Africa. You might say that you have some money in your piggy-bank and that you want to buy an aircraft. You live in county-X and want to know with which prefix your registration number is going to start with? Therefore, I have also listed this index the other way around.

Prefixes in registration numbers listed by country in alphabetical order:

Extra-Info: Aircraft Tires

Have you ever been in a commercial jet when it take-off? Going from zero to nearly 400hm/h (250mph) in a minute or so? How hot do you think the air inside the tires of that aircraft became during this time? According to an editorial type of advertisement of Dunlop in the November 1994 issue of "Flying Springbok", the in-flight magazine of the South African Airways during that time this temperature can rise to 110oC (230 oF). The problem is that this temperature will drop to 20oC (-4oF) during flight. When the aircraft lands it will rises to 110oC (230oF) again in a very short space of time. According to the same article every tires life is calculated on the number of times it takes off and lands. The live of one of the main tires fitted to an Airbus A300 is about 150 takeoffs and landings. But strangely the most tread, about 60% isn't lost during take-off and landing but during taxiing. Another interesting thing it that the main tires of a Boeing 747 can carry up to 22 800 kg (50 300 Ibs) each.

Afghanistan YA Albania - ZA Algeria - 7T Angola - D2 Antigua - V2 Argentina - LV Aruba - P4 Australia - VH Austria - OE Azerbaijan - 4K Bahamas - C6 Bangladesh 2S Barbados - 8P Belgium - OO Bermuda - VR-B Bhutan - A5 Bolivia - CP Botswana - A2 Brazil - PP Brunei - V8 Bulgaria - LZ

Egypt - SU El Salvador - YS Estonia - ES Ethiopia - ET ex East Germany - DM

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Cameroon - TJ Canada - C Cape Verde D4 Cayman Islands - VR-C Chile - CC China/Taiwan B CIS - RA Colombia - HK Comoros - D6 Congo - TN Costa Rica - TI Croatia - 9A Cuba - CU Cyprus - 5B Czech Republic - OK Denmark - OY Djibouti - J2 Dominican Republic - HI DRC - 9Q Ecuador - HC

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Seychelles - S7 Sierra Leone 9L Singapore - 9V Macao - CR-M Slovakia - OM Macedonia - Z3 Slovenia - S5 Madagascar Solomon Islands Falklands - VP-F 5R - H4 Fiji - DQ Malawi - 7Q South Africa Finland - OH Malaysia - 9M ZS France - F Maldives - 8Q South Korea French West Malta - 9H HL Indies - F-O Marshall Islands Spain - EC - V7 Sri Lanka - 4R Gabon - TR Mauritania - 5T Sudan - ST Gambia - C5 Mauritius - 3B Suriname - PZ Germany - D Mexico - XA Swaziland - 3D Ghana - 9G Morocco - CN Sweden - SE Greece - SX Switzerland Guatemala - TG Namibia - V5 HB Guyana - 8R Nauru - C2 Syria - YK Nepal - 9N Honduras - HR Netherlands Taiwan - B Hong Kong - VRPH Tanzania - 5H H Netherlands Thailand - HS Hungary - HA Antilles - PJ Trinidad and New Zealand Tobago - 9Y Iceland - TF ZK Tunisia - TS India - VT Niger - 5U Turkey - TC Indonesia - PK Nigeria - 5N Turkmenistan Iran - EP Norway - LN EZ Iraq - YI Ireland - EI Oman - A4 UAE - A6 Isle of Man - M Uganda - 5X Israel - 4X Pakistan - AP Ukraine - UR Italy - I Panama - HP United Kingdom Ivory Coast - TU Papua New -G Guinea - P2 Uruguay - CX Jamaica - 6Y Paraguay - ZP USA - N Japan - JA Peru - OB Uzbekistan - UK Jordan - JY Philippines - RP Poland - SP Vanuatu - YJ Kenya - 5Y Portugal - CS Venezuela - YV Kuwait - 9K Vietnam - VN Qatar - A7 Latvia - YL Yemen - 7O Lebanon - OD Romania - YR Liberia - EL Russia - see CIS Zambia - 9J Libya - 5A Zimbabwe - Z Sao Tome - S9 Saudi Arabia HZ Senegal - 6V

Lithuania - LY Luxembourg LX


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Serbia - YU

Registration Numbers on Older Planes and Helicopters:

Photo right: This Boeing 777-300s (Emirates Airlines livery) registration number is A6-ECS. Therefore, this aircraft is registered in the UAE. The photo was taken on Cape Town International Airport. So there you have it! I bet you will now look differently at aircraft and their registration or aviation tail numbers which contain a country prefix in them. You must just remember that not all of these registration prefixes are still in use. The world had change a lot politically around 1991 with the downfall of communism. New countries were born while others were no more. Aircraft which were build before this time and which are still in service in the areas of the world that had gone though these changes received differed registration numbers which now begin with the prefix of the new country. Russia doesn't have its own country prefix but shares one with the whole CIS which consist out of most of the area of the formal USSR. I first thought that the "RA" country prefix was used in the past by the USSR's aircraft registration registry, but I had found out that the RA prefix was a new one that was awarded after the fall of the USSR. On the other hand you will also see that the aircraft registration, country prefix "DM" was used by East Germany, this prefix is also no longer used on aircraft? NOTE! One reader had told me that the aircraft registration code for Armenia is EX. Another reader had said that the registration prefix for Laos was XW. Both these claims I am busy to investigate, and will update this website about aircraft registration codes if they seem to be true. 5 comments


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