Help choosing an ICAO Prefix

Hello everyone,

I wonder if I could ask some advice regarding choosing an ICAO prefix for my fictional airline when flying on Vatsim?

I run a YouTube channel where I do live flights on YouTube with my community. Not a VA partner or associate (yet) but equally, we don’t want to cause a problem to anyone on the network.

The original thought was that we would use the ICAO prefix of XAN, as upon an initial search of the avcodes site, it came up free.

What prompted this post was that today, on simaware, when flying under XAN, it labeled me as Southjet Cargo. I couldn’t see Southjet Cargo in the list of VA partners. Looking into it some more, the only reference to Southjet Cargo I could find was that it’s a fictional airline from the movie Snakes on a Plane. Once arrived at my destination, I got sent to a cargo stand, so maybe the controllers think I’m Southjet Cargo too?

Is there a list of ICAO codes for VA’s on Vatsim we could check against so that we don’t inadvertently tread on anyones toes?

Thanks in advance!


There are no reserved ICAO codes on VATSIM so you are free to use whatever you want. The "“assignments” utilized by simaware are coded by the manager of that site and do not come from VATSIM. If a particular code you would like to use is so associated with another VA it is suggested that your flights include the name of your VA and the audible callsign you are utilizing.

Thanks so much for this, Roger. Much appreciated!


From the controller side, a lot of divisions and subdivisions on Vatsim use GNG to manage their sectors, and airlines are included there.
They provide a public list for everything in the system here:
Airlines: Airlines · AERONAV · AeroNav Association
Fictional/Historical: Fictional/Historic Airlines · AERONAV · AeroNav Association

When I’m controlling and encounter a three-letter-designator that I haven’t seen before, I check the FAA 7340.2, which–though it’s maintained by the US, is pretty comprehensive since it has to include air carriers that fly into the States.

If you can come up with something that isn’t in the 7340, nor in the virtual airline databases that Marcelo linked to, then you’re probably onto something unique.

Also, for the sake of your controllers, it’s very helpful if you include a flight plan remark that tells us what your 3LD translates to; e.g. RPM=COBALT

A clip from one of your streams appeared in my recommendations today, during which I happened to be controlling GMC at Gatwick, and led me to this.

You were automatically assigned stand 159 since the system recognises the prefix “XAN” as “Southjet cargo”. If you’d like to avoid this (in the UK at least), you can either request a stand at least 20 minutes in advance of your landing, or ask the UKCP team to remove the “XAN” airline entry. Of course, you’re still welcome to ask the controller for a passenger stand, including providing a specific stand or terminal if you have a preference.

Another note is that you always made your initial calls as “X-A-N 159”, but I believe you had “CS/AIRNOTT” (or something to that effect) in your remarks; if you do specify your RT callsign in this way, you are welcome to call with it. The only limitation to this is that the controller client has its own prefix-to-callsigns list, so if you choose a prefix that is on this list, you may be mis-named (“XAN” does not appear to be present in the default list, and so is a good choice).