• Airport 3 letter codes are assigned to simplify information for Pilots, Air Traffic Controllers, etc. This keeps the system more uniformed. The three letter code usually will start with the first letter of the City where the airport is located. Then, the FAA will try to assign the second letter of the City if possible. To answer your question, the letters are sometime arbitrary because NO 3 letters can be the same. So for San Francisco, the SF is self explanatory, the "O" is arbitrary.

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