Volume 2 AIR OPERATOR AND AGENCY CERTIFICATION AND APPLICATION PROCESS
CHAPTER 2 GENERAL INFORMATION FOR AIR CARRIER CERTIFICATION
AND FRACTIONAL OWNERSHIP APPLICATION
Section 7 International Civil Aviation Organization Company Designators
and Telephony Designators (Call Signs)
2-271 GENERAL. This section contains information, direction, and guidance
to be used by Operations inspectors when assisting operators with obtaining
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) company designators and
telephony designators (call signs) for those operators who request or are
required to obtain designators. Commercial, domestic, and international
operators use designators for air traffic control (ATC) operations. The
Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunications Network (AFTN) system also uses designators
for identification, communication, and billing purposes. The AFTN system
is an integrated, international system of aeronautical fixed circuits. The
AFTN system provides the exchange of messages and flight plans between aeronautical
and fixed stations within the network. The Air Traffic Organization (ATO)
headquarters’ (HQ) Aeronautical Information Management (AIM) Office (AJV-2)
(firstname.lastname@example.org) assigns the designators when the Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) determines that designators are advantageous and operationally appropriate
to the U.S. ATC system. ATO AJV-2 normally assigns the ICAO three-letter
company designator and telephony designator as a unit. The four types of
designators are titled and described as follows:
· The company designator (ICAO three-letter designator);
· The telephony designator (used instead of phonetically pronouncing the three-letter
company designator associated with the aircraft call sign);
· The special telephony designator (special handling); and
· The local telephony designator (local visual flight rules
(VFR) operations only).
A. The Company Designator (ICAO Three-Letter Designator). The ICAO company
designator is a three-letter designator. The flight number serves as the
aircraft identification in the ATC system. The ICAO designator and the company
flight number both serve as aircraft identification information in the ATC
system. The authorized three‑letter designator and flight/trip number are
used instead of the aircraft registration number for ATC security and operational
purposes and may be used for the international telecommunications service
when its use is advantageous. The operator may use the company designator
to expedite the exchange of written and computerized air carrier information
in both the domestic and international ATC systems to access the stored
flight plan program and provide ATC with a quick and accurate means of visual
recognition. ATO AJV-2 may assign a three-letter company designator to:
1) Scheduled aircraft operators that operate 7 or more nonseasonal international
air operations each week or at least 15 nonseasonal, domestic round trip
air operations each week;
2) Chartered aircraft operators that may require use of the AFTN;
3) Aircraft operators that require an ICAO designator for security
4) Companies that meet none of these requirements but are deemed worthy
of an ICAO three-letter designator (i.e., Veterans Airlift Command).
B. The Telephony Designator (Call Sign). ATO AJV-2 usually assigns the
telephony designator call sign at the same time as the ICAO three-letter
designator, and the call sign becomes the aircraft identification for air
and ground communications with air traffic personnel. Usually, the operator
uses the company name or a pronounceable abbreviation of the company name
in combination with its flight number for ATC facilities and operating services.
An example is “American 411.” This designator replaces the standard type/tail
number combination such as “Cessna 398J.” The telephony designator should
be phonetically pronounceable in the English language. The name of the aircraft
company, operating authority, or servicing organization should resemble
the telephony designator, and the designator should not consist of more
than two words and three syllables. An advantage of using telephony designators
is the reduction of online noise distractions that create similar sounding
telephony designator confusion, expedite air and ground communication, provide
easy auditory recognition, and reduce the potential for mistakes in verbal
communication. The operator must include a new or changed telephony designator
in the “Remarks” section of the operator’s flight plans for at least 60
days following the new designator’s effective date.
C. The Special Telephony Designator. ATO AJV-2 (email@example.com),
in coordination with ICAO, may temporarily authorize a special telephony
designator only when its assignment will identify special handling by ATC.
ATO AJV-2 may authorize the special designator for a commemorative flight,
a large number of aircraft participating in an organized race, aircraft
operating during an emergency or disaster, or aircraft that need special
handling for security or test purposes.
D. The Local Telephony Designator. A local telephony designator
must be used only for communication with local airport traffic control towers
(ATCT) and/or air traffic facilities during VFR operations; they must not
be used for filing flight plans.
2-272 APPLICABILITY. Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations
(14 CFR) does not require that the operator obtain designators; however,
the operator’s operations specifications (OpSpecs) may require them. If
the FAA chooses to assign a three-letter ICAO company and telephony designator,
a special telephony designator or a local telephony designator, ATO AJV-2
(firstname.lastname@example.org) makes the initial approval after checking the requested
area of operations for conflict. However, ICAO, which takes into consideration
all designators approved throughout the world, makes the final approval
of the company designators and telephony designator. ATO AJV-2 (email@example.com)
then administers the designator assignment.
2-273 PROCEDURES FOR ASSIGNMENT OF DESIGNATORS. The company
makes all requests for designators directly to the appropriate Air Traffic
Service Center. ATO AJV-2 (firstname.lastname@example.org) administers final designator
A. The Company Designator and the Telephony Designator. The
operator must submit the following information for the company three-letter
designator and the telephony designator request:
· The name and address of the operator;
· The type of aircraft operation or service provided (a list
of the operators served is required for service operations);
· The intended use/non-use of AFTN for international services or operations;
· The number and type of AFTN messages handled daily;
· A copy of the operator published flight schedule, monthly
flight history, or projected flight schedule, if applicable;
· A copy of the FAA certificate that authorizes the company’s
operations and states the 14 CFR part under which operations are to be conducted,
if applicable; and
· Provision of at least five suggested three-letter designators
and telephony designators, listed in their desired order.
B. Special Telephony Designator. Government aircraft operators
(U.S. State, local, and law enforcement aircraft) requiring special telephony
designators must contact Air Traffic System Operations Security (9‑ATOR‑HQ‑IFOS@faa.gov).
All others contact ATO AJV-2 (email@example.com). Operators must submit
the following information for the special telephony designator request:
· Type of flight;
· Type of handling required;
· Type and number of aircraft; and
· Routes and duration of operation.
NOTE: Special telephony designators do not receive a three-letter identifier.
C. Local Telephony Designator. Local telephony designators
are used only for communications with air traffic facilities for VFR operations
as specified in a letter of agreement (LOA) between the local facility or
service area and the requesting applicant. The LOA will contain provisions
to ensure that the applicant uses local telephony designators only with
facilities or service areas that are signatories to the agreement. The appropriate
service center must review the LOA, add its recommendations to the letter,
and forward the proposed LOA and accompanying recommendations to ATO AJV-2.
ATO AJV-2 checks the area of operations for conflict and approves the LOA
if there is no conflict of designators. After approval, the service center
or facility will issue the signed LOA to the applicant.
2-274 EFFECTIVE DATE AND PUBLICATION. The required administrative
period for approval of a three‑letter company and telephony designator is
approximately 45 calendar-days. ATO AJV-2 establishes an effective date
for the designator and enters it into the stored flight plan program. ATO
AJV-2 advises the affected FAA facilities that the numbers will be published
in FAA and ICAO documents (the current editions of ICAO Doc 8585, Designators
for Aircraft Operating Agencies, Aeronautical Authorities, and Services,
and FAA Order JO 7340.2, Contractions). Failure to submit the proper documentation
may delay a designator assignment.
2-275 CHANGES IN COMPANY STATUS AND CERTIFICATE REVOCATION OR CANCELLATION.
When an assigned three-letter company designator and/or telephony designator
is no longer required, the company must notify ATO AJV-2 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
in writing. ATO AJV-2 must not reassign any designator it released within
60 calendar-days. Notification of change or release may be made for the
· Operations permanently suspended or canceled;
· Change in the name, address, or physical location of the company; and
· Mergers and acquisitions that change or combine any company
name holding more than one designator.
A. Revoked or Surrendered Operating Certificate. Principal operations
inspectors (POI) must notify ATO AJV-2 (email@example.com) when a company
operating certificate is revoked or surrendered.
B. Failure to Use Three-Letter Company Designator and Telephony
Designator. ATO AJV-2 will place on a watch list any company that does
not use an assigned three-letter company designator and telephony designator
for 2 years on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan in U.S.-controlled
airspace. ATO AJV-2 will revoke and release any three-letter company designator
and telephony designator that are not used for 3 years on an IFR flight
plan in U.S.-controlled airspace.
2-276 OTHER INFORMATION SOURCES. Additional information on designators
may be found in the current editions of FAA Order JO 7340.2; FAA Order JO
7210.3, Facility Operation and Administration; Advisory Circular (AC)
120-26, International Civil Aviation Organization Three-Letter
Designator and Telephony Designator; and ICAO Doc 8585.
RESERVED. Paragraphs 2-277 through 2-295.