15 MORE Top 10 Coolest Airline Call Signs!

15 More Top 10 Coolest Airline Call Signs

There are so many great call signs, the top 10 list just wasn’t enough! Here are 15 more of the coolest call signs that can be heard on the aviation airwaves. Keep reading and you’ll also get some call sign trivia – absolutely FREE!

trivia-transWhy are call signs used?

When pilots and air traffic controllers communicate on the radio, the airline’s call sign is always used along with the flight number: “Delta one-three-five.”  This helps assure that communications are clear.

Airlines began using call signs back in the 1930’s.  Most carriers use their name as a call sign. Delta uses “Delta,” Singapore Airlines is “Singapore,” Southwest is “Southwest.” Occasionally, airlines will use some creativity when selecting a call sign. That’s when things start getting fun…

 

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Don’t miss the original Top 10 Coolest Airline Call Signs! – More call sign goodness, served up hot and fresh!

15. Viking – Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia

TomCookThomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia has three sister carriers: Thomas Cook Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium, and Condor. Thomas Cook Scandinavia has hubs in Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Oslo, making the “Viking” call sign very appropriate!

Track Viking flights LIVE: FlightRadar24 or FlightAware


14. Glacier – Central Mountain Air

CentralMountainAirBased in Smithers, British Columbia, Central Mountain Air provides scheduled and charter flights to over 18 British Columbia and Alberta communities. They’re a busy carrier operating Dornier 328, Dash 8-300 and Beech 1900-D aircraft. “Glacier” is definitely a cool call sign for a Canadian carrier!

Track Glacier flights LIVE: FlightAware


 13. Big Bird – NokScoot Airlines

NokScootNokScoot is a new Bangkok, Thailand based low-cost airline. The carrier is a joint venture of Thailand’s Nok Air and Scoot of Singapore. NokScoot’s call sign of “Big Bird” was an easy choice; the airline’s fleet of Boeing 777-200ER aircraft are adorned with a smiling orange bird beak on the nose!

Track Big Bird flights LIVE: FlightAware


 12. Polar Bear – Fast Air

FastAirAlthough not an airline, Fast Air’s call sign is too good not to make the list. Based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Fast Air is charter company that operates 20 turboprop, helicopter and business jet aircraft. They also operate a 24-hour air ambulance service. It’s fun to hear Polar Bears on the radio in Manitoba!

Track Polar Bear flights LIVE: FlightAware

trivia-transHear The Call Signs

Reading about call signs is interesting, but the real fun is on the radio! If you want to listen for these call signs, check out LiveATC.net.  LiveATC is a world-wide network of aviation-band radios. Listen to Hong Kong Radar, Atlanta Approach, Chicago Tower… There are over 1200 feeds to choose from.

Want your own air-band radio to listen to the action near you? Check out the AeroSavvy article: Stuff Pilots Say. There’s a short radio buying guide at the bottom of the post. You can even build your own from a kit!

11. Empress – Canadian North

CanadianNorthCanadian North’s Empress call sign is well known across the Great White North. The airline is based in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and operates flights as far north as Nunavut and as far south as Miami, Florida! Canadian North has North America covered!

Track Empress flights LIVE: FlightRadar24 or FlightAware


 10. Bemidji – Bemidji Airlines

bemidjiIf you’re flying around Minnesota, it isn’t unusual to hear the call sign of Bemidji (pronounced Bem-i-gee). Bemidji Airlines, based in Minneapolis, operates a busy fleet of aircraft providing scheduled cargo, and passenger charter services. Why Bemidji? The airline is headquartered in the small town of Bemidji, Minnesota. It made the top 15 list because it’s fun to say. Try saying it three times fast, then sympathize with the Minneapolis controllers that handle Bemidji flights every night!

Track Bemidji flights LIVE: FlightAware or FlightRadar24


 9. Blue Streak – PSA Airlines

psaPSA Airlines (not to be confused with its namesake, the original Pacific Southwest Airlines) is a regional carrier owned by American Airlines Group. PSA is based in Dayton, Ohio and flies routes as American Eagle. In the mid-1980s, PSA was called Jetstream International Airlines and flew routes as a Piedmont Commuter. The airplanes had a long blue stripe (or streak) to match the Piedmont jets. Thus, the call sign Blue Streak!

Track Blue Streak flights LIVE: FlightAware

trivia-transHeavy Call Signs

When aircraft are near their arrival or departure airports, pilots and controllers will add the word “heavy” to some call signs: “Delta two-three Heavy.” Heavy is used for aircraft that have a maximum takeoff weight of 300,000 pounds or more. Adding Heavy to the call sign is a reminder that the airplane generates a large amount of dangerous wake turbulence on takeoff and landing. Air traffic controllers increase the spacing behind heavies so airplanes that follow them don’t encounter the turbulence.

Examples of a few heavies:
Boeing 747, 757, 767, 777, 787.
Airbus A300, A310, A330, A340, A350, A380

The Boeing 757 is designated a Heavy even though the aircraft’s max takeoff weight is less than 300,000 pounds because it generates a significant amount of wake turbulence.

8.  Sasquatch – SeaPort Airlines

SeaPortHeadquartered in Portland, Oregon, SeaPort Airlines flies a fleet of Cessna Caravan turboprops providing Essential Air Service to communities near their hubs: Portland, Memphis, and San Diego. Oregon (and the U.S. Pacific Northwest) is home to the mythical creature “Bigfoot” or “Sasquatch” which makes Sasquatch the perfect call sign for SeaPort.

Track Sasquatch flights LIVE: FlightAware


 7.  Springbok – South African Airlines

SouthAfricanAir1From the formation of the company in 1934 until 1997, South African Airlines used a flying springbok as its official symbol.

springbok1948cSpringboks are an antelope-gazelle native to southwestern Africa. They’re extremely fast and can leap high into the air making them an appropriate airline symbol.  Although the logo is no longer displayed on South African Airways aircraft, the Springbok lives on as the airline’s call sign and can be heard world-wide.

Track Springbok flights LIVE: FlightAware or FlightRadar24


 6.  Go Cat – Tigerair, Singapore

TigerAirTigerair Singapore is a no-frills carrier that, together with sister airlines Tigerair Taiwan and Tigerair Australia, blanket Asia and Australia with a vast route network. Anytime I fly in Asia I hear the familiar and catchy Go Cat call sign. It’s definitely one of my favorites. While TigerAir Australia and Singapore use the Go Cat call sign, Tiger Air Taiwan uses the equally cool: Smart Cat.

Track Go Cat flights LIVE: FlightAware or FlightRadar24
Track Smart Cat flights LIVE: FlightAware or FlightRadar24

trivia-transSuper Size Call Signs

Two aircraft models are so big that a Heavy call sign just isn’t enough. The Airbus A380 and Antonov An-225 generate so much wake turbulence that these aircraft are classified as Super.  Air traffic controllers provide even more spacing behind Supers for safety. If you hear “Speedbird two-eight-two Super,” you know it’s a British Airways Airbus A380.

5.  Skylab – LabCorp

LabCorpLabCorp is not an airline or charter company. You might be familiar with LabCorp if your doctor orders blood work or your employer requires a drug test. They are one of the largest clinical laboratory networks in the world. LabCorp has a fleet of small aircraft in Burlington, North Carolina that make daily flights transporting medical specimens, freight, and personnel. Being a space geek, a call sign that has a NASA reference flies high on my list.

Track Skylab flights LIVE: FlightAware


 4.  Xanadu – AirAsia X

AirAsiaXAirAsia X is a long-haul, budget airline based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and is a sister airline to Asia’s largest low-cost carrier, AirAsia. I’m not sure if the Xanadu call sign references the capital of Kublai Khan’s Yuan dynasty in China (called Xanadu) or the 1980 Olivia Newton-John movie. Either way, Xanadu is a real attention getter on the radio.

Track Xanadu flights LIVE: FlightAware or FlightRadar24

trivia-transCall sign doesn’t match flight number?

Once in a while, you’ll hear a call sign that doesn’t match a flight number: Air France flight 83 might have the call sign of “Air France eight-Lima.” This is common in Europe and used to reduce radio confusion when two flights have similar sounding call signs: Air France eight-three might be confused with Air Berlin eight-three, so the Air France call sign is changed to eight-lima. The actual flight number doesn’t change, so passengers aren’t confused.

Sometimes a really late flight will have an alphabet letter added to it’s call sign. If AeroSavvy two-three is delayed until the next morning due to weather, its call sign might be changed to AeroSavvy two-three-alpha so it isn’t confused with the next day’s regularly scheduled flight two-three.

3.  Clipper – Pan American World Airways

PanAm2Juan Trippe’s amazing airline was instrumental in shrinking the globe. If Pan American World Airways were still in business, the Clipper call sign would be #1 on this list.  In 1931, Pan Am began operating Sikorsky flying boats. The ships had nicknames like American Clipper, Southern Clipper, and Caribbean Clipper. Pan Am operated a total of 28 “Clippers” until 1946. Those of us flying prior to December, 1991 will always miss hearing Clipper on the airwaves.


 2.  Velocity – Virgin Australia

VirginAustraliaTwo of my favorite call signs are British Airways’ Speedbird (featured in the first Top Ten List) and Virgin Australia’s Velocity. The call signs just scream on-time performance and efficiency. Virgin Australia is Australia’s second largest carrier and the largest airline under Richard Branson’s “Virgin” brand.

Track Velocity flights LIVE: FlightAware or FlightRadar24


 1.  Jedi – Jet Story

JetStory

Number one on the list may come as a surprise. Jet Story (previously named Blue Jet and Jet Service) is a business aircraft management and charter company in Poland. Jet Story currently charters 13 very, very nice business jets and flies to 5 continents. Most importantly, Jet Story has one amazing call sign: Jedi. With the rebirth and excitement of the Star Wars franchise, what’s not to love about a high flying Jedi-in-the-sky?

Track Jedi flights LIVE: FlightAware


 Did I miss any good call signs?

There are plenty of other really cool airline call signs. What’s your favorite? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments!

trivia-transNeed more call signs?
Read the original:  Top 10 Coolest Airline Call Signs!
Also, check out Wikipedia’s List of airline codes (it’s a long list!)

If you’d like to learn more about aircraft communication, stream live aviation radio, or even build your own aircraft band receiver, check out these AeroSavvy articles:

 

 

AeroSavvy is written by Ken Hoke. Since 1984, Ken has loitered the skies in many vehicles, most notably the classic Douglas DC-8. He currently frustrates air traffic controllers in the US, Asia, and Europe as a Boeing 767 captain for a package express airline.
Ken can be reached here or any of these fine social media outlets:   

60 thoughts on “15 MORE Top 10 Coolest Airline Call Signs!

  1. Nigel Johnstone

    A few years ago I registered a change of callsign from ‘Envoy’ to ‘Silverjet’ for Silverjet at Luton (EGGW) because none of us liked Envoy. All went well until we called Moncton to check in, they replied “Silverware 123…..” It almost worked. Another airline called Privatair flying on behalf of Lufthansa had a callsign ‘Batman’

    Reply
    1. Ken H. Post author

      “Silverware.” That is FUNNY. Batman is also a good one. To go along with it, there’s a place called General Aviation Flying Services with the call sign of Gotham. 🙂

      Reply
  2. standor2@bigpond.net.au

    This is not a current call sign but one that belonged to the still missed Ansett Australia cargo division.I live in Australia and we have many unique wild animals. The kangaroo, platypus, koala and so on. Most of these animals are nocturnal and are fairly common. The animal concerned here is a Wombat. They are herbivores, dig holes and are pretty much nocturnal. The cargo division used to use the call sign “wombat airlines”. Their aircraft had a logo of a wombat painted on the side of the aircraft. Finally someone asked “Why wombat airlines”? The answer was that Wombats come out at night, eat roots and leaves”. Now if you think about it, this is indeed true of wombats. But it has another human meaning that is not so polite. The call sign was stopped overnight and the symbol removed from all aircraft. Some people have no sense of humour!

    Reply
  3. Nic

    Thank you for this article, Ken. Another call sign I recently heard is “Chickpea”. The actual airline is Conquest Air Cargo stationed at KOPF.
    Keep the articles coming! 😉

    Reply
  4. Stijn Barbé

    As all TUI-group airlines are going to merge into one, I’m afraid callsign “beauty” of Jertairfly.be will soon disappear… Still, one of the coolest. Also from Belgium; and yes, I am biased :-D; callsign “beeline” of Brussel Airlines is pretty cool.

    Reply
  5. Anthony Chatham

    Empress used be the call-sign of Canadian Pacific or CP Air.

    Before British European Airways was merged with BA, their C/S was “Beeline” (not so sure of the spelling – it could have been ‘Bealine”)

    Alliance, a small carrier in Australia use the C/S “Unity”. That’s quite neat!

    Reply
    1. Ken H. Post author

      It’s interesting how call signs bounce around the industry as companies appear, merge, or disappear. Canadian Pacific (Empress) became Canadian Airlines through a merger, which was finally acquired by Air Canada.

      British European Airways did indeed use “Bealine.” The very similar “Bee-Line” is now used by Brussels Airlines.

      Thanks for the great comments!
      Ken

      Reply
  6. Dick Ewing

    Not an airline call sign thing – but while I was in the military I flew on the wing of a guy with the call sign of Webe. I didn’t understand until the first time I flew with him – “Webe ready for takeoff”, “Webe Initial”, “Webe gear down” – you get the idea. Each new radio call brought a smile to my face!

    Reply
    1. RW

      It actually EE&G. They fly 737-500s( previously 737-200s) to Groom Lake. Which if asked, doesn’t really exist. Lol

      Reply
  7. Chuck Stagliano

    Many early Atlas pilots were former PanAm, myself included. Clipper was in our blood. In the 707 days, all aircraft had names of former Clipper ships. This carried over until the end. I would love walking up to a shiny blue and white 707 and read “Queen of the Seas” or some equally romantic name, under the Captain’s window. Captains were called “Skipper”

    Reply
  8. Pete McKay

    Short lived Air21 operated out of Fresno (KFAT) and had the callsign Rocketeer. Air21 was unique, they would buy paper napkins in bulk from Wendy’s and serve Otis Spunkmeyer cookies.

    Reply
  9. Jason

    I have two that were my absolute favorites.

    Back in the late 90s the second interation of National Airlines was based out of Las Vegas. Their call sign was “Red Rock”

    And as a former ground crew member for Shuttle America when we were that quirky little Dash 8 operator, “Shuttlecraft” will always put a smile on my face.

    Reply
  10. Mike.

    You mentioned Brickyard, for Republic, they being based in IND, but they also used to use the call sign Shuttle Craft for their Shuttle America cert. Supposedly in homage to star trek. They had to change it because of confusion in ORD with Air Shuttle, they now go by Mercury, a blast from the past.

    Reply
  11. aerofede

    In Italy we have Neos Air, call sign Moonflower from the Carlos Santana’s song.
    Aerologic call sign is German Cargo, BOX is their ICAO indicator.

    For some time, Hapag Loyd Express used to call Yellow Cab, as their airplanes were painted like old time New York City cabs.
    Then they switched to Excellence and then Hapag Loyd.

    There was also a British business jet charter company that used Vampire as their callsign.

    Reply
  12. anthonycarpeneti1

    Loved those call signs! I was flying through Washington Dulles on Sunday when I came across this little Piper Navajo of Sun Air Express on the ramp. Their callsign is Friendly, which is a bit generic… About a month ago, we had a Poseidon visit Daytona Beach, where it did some pattern work, which had the callsign “MadFox 88”. It was part of the VP-5 Mad Foxes (great name btw) based up at NAS Jacksonville. My favorite of all time is the callsign of Kalitta Air, Connie. Interestingly enough, that callsign of theirs comes right from their CEO, Conrad “Connie” Kalitta.

    Reply
  13. Albert J Cuevas

    As an Air Traffic Controller I got to hear a lot of call signs. One that I didn’t see mentioned was Tiger for Flying Tiger Air lines. The best military one, IMHO, came from an F-100 that came on the frequency one day out of Tucson, Shadow. I always that was the best. No number just Shadow.

    Reply
    1. Ken H. Post author

      Hi, Ehsan,

      Homa is the mythical animal pictured on their logo and the name the airline is sometimes called.

      Iran Air’s radio call sign is actually “IranAir.”

      Thanks for reading!
      Ken

      Reply

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