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Why BTV? 

Published September 1, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. | Updated September 10, 2015 at 11:31 a.m.

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Why BTV?

Many folks flying through BTV wonder about the airport's three-letter location identifier. Vermont's postal code is VT, so why isn't it BVT? That's especially baffling, as BVT isn't already used by another airport.

Here's a little history. Airport codes arose in the 1930s. The early ones simply copied the two-letter designations used by the National Weather Service, which typically sets up weather-data stations at airfields.

But as commercial aviation expanded, the federal government switched to the three-letter system, which offered thousands more combinations. Some airports simply added an X to their original two-letter abbreviations, and those codes stuck. Hence LAX (Los Angeles International) and PDX (Portland International).

Today, many of the three-letter codes still make sense. They include Boston (BOS), Atlanta (ATL) and Salt Lake City (SLC). Others, such as Chicago's O'Hare (ORD), are puzzling until you learn the airport's history: Prior to 1949, O'Hare was named Orchard Field.

By all reports, Burlington International's three-letter code has always been BTV — leaving the placement of the "V" a mystery. But the moniker is far preferable to that of the Sioux Gateway Airport in Sioux City, Iowa (SUX), Brazil's Poços de Caldas Airport (POO), Perm International Airport in Russia (PEE) or Butler Memorial Airport in Missouri (BUM).

Burlingtonians have come to embrace the slightly offbeat BTV abbreviation, adopting it as a fitting nickname and Twitter hashtag for their quirky hometown.

Mais avec l'essor de l'aviation commerciale, le gouvernement fédéral est passé au système à trois lettres, qui offrait beaucoup plus de combinaisons. Certains aéroports ont simplement greffé un X à leur sigle initial à deux lettres, et ces codes leur sont restés. D'où les indicatifs LAX (aéroport international de Los Angeles) et PDX (aéroport international de Portland).

Aujourd'hui, bon nombre de ces codes à trois lettres demeurent limpides, comme ceux des aéroports de Boston (BOS), d'Atlanta (ATL) et de Salt Lake City (SLC). D'autres, comme celui de l'aéroport O'Hare de Chicago (ORD), sont plus mystérieux, à moins de connaître l'histoire qui se cache derrière : en effet, avant 1949, O'Hare s'appelait Orchard Field.

Tout le monde s'entend pour dire que le code à trois lettres de l'aéroport international de Burlington a toujours été BTV – la position du « V » demeure donc un mystère. Par contre, cet indicatif est de loin préférable à ceux des aéroports Sioux Gateway, à Sioux City, en Iowa (SUX), Poços de Caldas, au Brésil (POO), Perm International, en Russie (PEE) ou Butler Memorial, au Missouri (BUM).

Les habitants de Burlington ont véritablement adopté le sigle BTV. Ils le considèrent, du fait de sa particularité, idéal pour désigner leur ville un peu marginale, notamment comme mot-clic sur Twitter.

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