Many Kenyans have long been wondering how Kenya Airways, national carrier, was abbreviated to KQ instead of KA.
To understand better, we will go down the memory lane before the colonial period ended.
Kenya’s national airline carrier was popularly known as East African Airways before it reverted to Kenya Airways.
The name East African Airways, had been christened by the British who were in-charge of the Kenya better known as East African Protectorate
South Korea’s national carrier, Korean Air applied for its abbreviation to KA in 1977 through IATA, world’s airline governing body.
When Kenya wanted to change to Kenya Airways, it could not be granted with the KA abbreviation, aka call sign, IATA granted them with KQ, with letter Q actually having no any better meaning.
The IATA international airline coding works on first come first served, thus the reason why Etihad Airways call sign is EY while Ethiopian Airlines is ET because it came so early than the EY case.
The international coding system also applies in other forms of naming such as Spain’s domain name end to .sa while South Africa’s end with .za.