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ICAO 8400

9th Edition, January 1, 2016

Complete Document

ICAO Abbreviations and Codes

Includes all amendments and changes through Amendment 32, 2016

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This document contains abbreviations and codes approved by the Council of ICAO for worldwide use in the international aeronautical telecommunication service and in aeronautical information documents, as appropriate, uniform abbreviated phraseology for use in pre-flight information bulletins and ATS data link communications, with the status of Procedures for Air Navigation Services (in abbreviated form the PANS-ABC).

This document is the outgrowth of study by the Air Navigation Commission in consultation with States in the matter of controlling and coordinating abbreviations and codes. It brings together all abbreviations and codes for use in aircraft operations with the following exceptions:

a) Designators for Aircraft Operating Agencies, Aeronautical Authorities and Services promulgated in Doc 8585.

b) Data designators and geographical designators for meteorological bulletins given in the Manual of Aeronautical Meteorological Practice (Doc 8896).

c) Aeronautical meteorological codes given in the Manual of Aeronautical Meteorological Practice.

d) Additional abbreviations for restricted use in aeronautical information services (AIS) documents given in the Aeronautical Information Services Manual (Doc 8126).

e) Location Indicators given in Doc 7910.

f) Aircraft Type Designators given in Doc 8643.

Table A shows the origin of each edition of the PANS-ABC issued since 1964 and subsequent amendments thereto, together with a list of the principal subjects involved, the dates on which the amendments were approved by the Council and the dates on which they became applicable.

Principles for formulation of abbreviations

The principles applied in the formulation of ICAO abbreviations are:

a) that allocation of more than one signification to a single abbreviation should be avoided except where it can be reasonably determined that no instances of misinterpretation would arise;

b) that allocation of more than one abbreviation to the same signification should be avoided even though a different use is prescribed;

c) that abbreviations should make use of the root word or words and should be derived from words common to the working languages except that where it is impracticable to apply this principle to best advantage, the abbreviation should follow the English text;

d) that the use of a singular or plural form for the signification of an abbreviation should be selected on the basis of the more common use;

e) that an abbreviation may represent grammatical variants of the basic signification where such application can be made without risk of confusion and the desired grammatical form can be determined from the context of the message.

With respect to the latter principle, several variants are given for a number of abbreviations where it might not be obvious that the variant is appropriate or acceptable.

Specifications governing the use of abbreviations

Specifications governing the use of abbreviations and codes are contained in the following ICAO Annexes and PANS:

a) use of abbreviations in the aeronautical information service: 1.3.4 of Annex 15;

b) use of the NOTAM Code: 5.2 of Annex 15;

c) use of abbreviations and codes in the international aeronautical telecommunications service: 3.7 of Annex 10, Volume II;

d) use of abbreviations on aeronautical charts: 2.3.3 and 2.9 of Annex 4;

e) use of abbreviations in plain language meteorological messages: Chapters 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 and Appendices 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 of Annex 3;

f) use of abbreviations in air-reports: 4.12 of Chapter 4 and Appendix 1 of PANS-ATM (Doc 4444);

g) use of abbreviations and designators in flight plans and other air traffic services messages: Chapters 11 and 16 and Appendices 2, 3, 5 and 6 of PANS-ATM (Doc 4444).


The Procedures for Air Navigation Services (PANS) do not have the same status as the Standards and Recommended Practices. While the latter are adopted by Council in pursuance of Article 37 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, subject to the full procedure of Article 90, the PANS are approved by the President of the Council on behalf of the Council and recommended to Contracting States for worldwide application.


The implementation of ICAO Standards, Recommended Practices and Procedures is the responsibility of Contracting States; they are applied in actual operations only after, and in so far as States have enforced them. However, with a view to facilitating their processing towards implementation by States, this document has been prepared in a manner which will permit direct use by operational personnel.

Notification of differences

The PANS do not carry the status afforded to Standards adopted by the Council as Annexes to the Convention and, therefore, do not come within the obligation imposed by Article 38 of the Convention to notify differences in the event of nonimplementation.

The attention of States is, however, drawn to the provision in Annex 15 related to the publication in Aeronautical Information Publications of a list of abbreviations and their respective significations used by the State in its Aeronautical Information Publications and in the dissemination of aeronautical information. Differences from ICAO abbreviations or their significations should be identified.

Editorial presentation

For encoding purposes the abbreviations given in this document are divided among a “general” and several specialized categories. For the convenience of the user, there is some duplication among these categories. Nevertheless, it may be necessary to draw on the “general” category of abbreviations when composing messages using one of the specialized categories.

Certain Q Code signals which through constant use have attained plain language status have been placed with their plain language significations in the portion of this document which contains the “general” category abbreviations.

Throughout the document, decode material is printed on white paper, encode material on green paper.

Any errors, omissions or discrepancies should be brought to the attention of the Secretary General of ICAO, 999 Robert-Bourassa Boulevard, Montréal, Quebec, Canada H3C 5H7.