Politicians in India are trying to change Gaya’s airport code (GAY), because it’s “offensive” and “embarrassing.” Charming!
India’s “GAY” airport
Airports have three letter codes that are registered with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and politicians in India want to change one code. Specifically, Gaya Airport has the code “GAY,” and a parliamentary panel is currently trying to amend that. The Committee on Public Undertakings claims that such an airport code is offensive and embarrassing for such a holy city:
“The Committee have their apprehension that Gaya being a holy city, locals might be finding it offensive or embarrassing on their city being recognised in the international community with the code name ‘GAY’. The Committee too find it inappropriate and unsuitable and therefore recommend the Government and Air India to complete all the requisite consultations and formalities in a time-bound manner to change the code of Gaya airport from ‘GAY’ to any other suitable code.”
The panel is proposing that the airport code be changed to “YAG,” which is just gay backwards, and for that matter is a lot less intuitive.
The airport code is unlikely to change
Generally speaking airport codes are permanent, and IATA only considers changes to codes if there’s a strong justification. And while these politicians might feel otherwise, I don’t think IATA considers homophobia to be a sufficient reason for this.
Nonetheless the committee is doubling down, and encouraging Air India and the government to push for this change, “to make all effort to take up the matter with the IATA and concerned organisation as the issue involves inappropriate code naming of an airport of a holy city of our country.”
Some politicians in India with too much time on their hands are trying to change Gaya’s airport code from “GAY” to “YAG,” since it’s so embarrassing and offensive to be associated with gays, apparently. I have a recommendation for the panel — how about renaming the city as well, because it does have “gay” in the name. You know, we don’t want people to get confused, or anything.
(Tip of the hat to Mike)