Thanks to everyone for their feedback. It probably isn’t a surprise that the issue is much more complex than it seems. We do have direct access to the FAA ATA100 data as well as the digital terminal procedure publications, which is what feeds the FlightAware Resources section.
FlightAware.com doesn’t simply lack the ability to turn an airport code into a name, it has to have the ability to recognize various forms of the code and standardize it for consistency as well as associate other variables with it. Sparing everyone the details of complexity, the main reason why FlightAware doesn’t pull the regularly updated FAA data as the primary source of airport codes is because FlightAware uses ICAO airport codes, not FAA or IATA codes.
For example, the ATA100 data calls Los Angeles LAX rather than KLAX, Anchorage ANC not PANC and Kahului OGG not PHOG. I can go on and on – but you can see how things start to get tricky.
We have a proposed solution internally to actively and regularly join multiple database to form one airport database that we will use and have automatically and regularly updated. However, it’s one of many priorities going on at FA right now. Rest assured that we recognize the importance of getting all the airport right and we intend to take it on soon – and if it was as simple as finding a list of airports from a web site, we definitely would have handled it by now.
Have a good weekend.