ICAO Aerodrome Reference Code


The ICAO Aerodrome Reference Code is a two part categorisation of aircraft types which simplifies the process of establishing whether a particular aircraft is able to use a particular aerodrome. It is included in ICAO Annex 14. It has two 'elements', the first is a numeric code based on the Reference Field Length for which there are four categories and the second is letter code based on a combination of aircraft wingspan and outer main gear wheel span.


Element 1 of the Code is as follows:

Code numberAeroplane reference field lengthTypical aeroplane
2800 m but < 1200 mATR ATR-42-300/320/BOMBARDIER Dash 8 Q300
31200 m but < 1800 mSAAB 340/BOMBARDIER Regional Jet CRJ-200
41800 m and aboveBOEING 737-700/AIRBUS A-320

Field length means the balanced field length (which is when the take-off distance required is equal to the accelerate-stop distance required) if applicable, or take-off distance in other cases. Aeroplane reference field length is defined as "the minimum field length required for take-off at maximum certificated take-off mass, at sea level, in International Standard Atmosphere conditions in still air and with zero runway slope as documented in the Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM) or equivalent document.

Element 2 of the Code is derived from the most restrictive of either the aircraft wingspan or the aircraft outer main gear wheel span. The categories are as follows:

Code letterWingspanTypical aeroplane
A< 15 mPIPER PA-31/CESSNA 404 Titan
B15 m but < 24 mBOMBARDIER Regional Jet CRJ-200/DE HAVILLAND CANADA DHC-6
C24 m but < 36 mBOEING 737-700/AIRBUS A-320/EMBRAER ERJ 190-100
D36 m but < 52 mB767 Series/AIRBUS A-310
E52 m but < 65 mB777 Series/B787 Series/A330 Family
F65 m but < 80 mBOEING 747-8/AIRBUS A-380-800

It should be noted that Element 2 is often used on its own since it has direct relevance to detailed airport design. It also has a parallel but differently defined code use by the FAA, the Airplane Design Group (ADG)

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Further Reading

  • ICAO Annex 14

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