With hundreds of flights landing every day at airports such as JFK Airport in New York, there's just not enough time for every pilot and air traffic controller to use the entire name of an airline when communicating.
So, every airline uses a unique call sign which along with their flight number easily identifies who they are.
While many airlines stuck with using their name as their call sign, such as Qantas or American, others have gone a bit more creative.
Entertaining call signs from around the world:
- Hawaii - Hawaiian Airlines. Not that exciting to begin with, but the airline operates flight 50 between Honolulu and New York. So, its call sign is "Hawaii Five-O"
- Speedbird - This dates back to the 1930s when British Airways was known as Imperial Airways, and had an arrow-like bird logo on its tail.
- Shamrock - Being the national symbol of Ireland, this is the call sign for Aer Lingus.
- Cactus - US Airways. A call sign you may know from when Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger landed 'Cactus 1549' in the Hudson River in New York.
- Dynasty - Used by Taiwan based China Airlines, this comes from the historic dynasties of China.
- Big Bird – There's nothing historic about NokScoot Airlines call sign, it just sounds cool.
- Xanadu – AirAsia X's call sign is all about the X factor. They also have aircraft named Xuberance” and Xhilaration.
- Jedi – Used by Jet Story, a jet charter company based at Warsaw Chopin Airport.
- Go Cat - This was used by TigerAir Australia until 2016 when it changed to Tigoz.
For the record, Air New Zealand's is New Zealand and the NZ Defence Force uses Kiwi.