Just like a car, all aircraft carry a unique registration. This is usually a sequence of letters and numbers beginning with a unique letter or two that identifies the country the aircraft is registered in.

In the United States these begin with N, in Australia it is VH, in Ireland EI and in the UK the country letter is G. Interestingly, the people at British Airways have a theme or code to their registrations which is interesting if you’re into aviation.

Unique Registration Marks

One Boeing 777-236ER carries the registration G-RAES with the letters standing for Royal Aeronautical Engineering Society. There was also a Boeing 737-436 with G-GBTA for the Guild of Business Travel Agents.

Worthy of mention are the Concorde fleet which were registered G-BOAA to G-BOAG. The reason for this? The airline that originally ordered the aircraft was BOAC and the first one was registered G-BOAC for that reason.

Current Themes

G-EU** – Airbus A319 and Airbus A320 for the European Union.

G-YMM* – Boeing 777-236ER aircraft delivered from 2000. Y is year and MM is 2000 in roman numerals.

G-VII* – Boeing 777-236ER aircraft. VII is the roman numeral for seven.

G-LCY* – LCY is the airport code for London City Airport so aircraft based there feature this registration.

G-BYG* – Some Boeing 747-436 feature this sequence to mean big.

G-STB* – Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and the letters stand for STretched Boeing.

G-BNLA – Boeing 747-436 for Brand New Large Aircraft. All others followed in sequence from there.

G-BNWA – Boeing 767-336 for Brand New Widebody Aircraft and the others also followed on from there.

G-ZZZ* – Boeing 777-236 as the ZZZ looks a bit like 777 underlined.

G-TTO* – Airbus A320s for Three Two O which is 320.

G-TTN* – Airbus A320neo for Three Twenty Neo.

G-NEO* – Airbus A321neo for obvious reasons.

G-XLEA – For the Airbus A380, the first stands for eXtra Large European Airbus and on from there.

G-CIV* – Boeing 747-436 aircraft – 400 in roman numerals – C being 100 and IV being 4. Technically CIV is 104 – CD is actually 400.

G-ZBJ* – Boeing 787-8 aircraft. One source says ZBJ looks vaguely like 787. Another says Z for sleep (catching some z’s) to refer to the dream part of Dreamliner then BJ for Boeing Jet. Anyone know?

G-ZBK* – Boeing 787-9 aircraft. Someone in the comments says the ZB was because BA took over Monarch’s aircraft. The registrations were kept as a result. Monarch’s code was ZB.

G-ZBL* – Boeing 787-10 aircraft. It just follows the J for 8, K for 9 and now L for 10.

G-XWB* – Airbus A350 aircraft, which are the A350XWB for eXtra Wide Body.

G-MED* – Aircraft part of British Mediterranean Airways which was a franchisee for BA once upon a time.

G-GAT* – Aircraft based at London Gatwick Airport.

G-MID* – Aircraft formerly owned by BMI which was originally called British Midland.

G-EUNA – Airbus A318 flying London City to New York stands for European Union North America.

Overall Thoughts

It is unusual for an aircraft registration to be so interesting. Most are just letters and numbers with no real ulterior motive behind the sequence. I do wonder if any other airlines select sequences to mean something.

Since British Airways no longer name their aircraft, perhaps this was the next best thing for those responsible for the aircraft. Either way it’s interesting enough.

Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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With thanks to ComputerCommuter, snuffi, Ben Jones, and kdhurst380 on FlyerTalk.
Featured image by Aero Icarus from Zurich, Switzerland via Wikimedia Commons.