Why Is Dubai Called DXB? (True Meaning of the Abbreviation)

Have you wondered why the short or abbreviated form of Dubai is DXB? It would make more sense if it were Dub; where does the “x” come from, and what does it represent? Let’s find out why Dubai is called DXB.

DXB is the IATA airport code for Dubai International Airport. The letter “X” is a variable to replace the “U,” which could not be used to make it DUB because that was already taken for Dublin airport.

The public uses DXB as a quick and easy way to type or write when referencing the city.

Dubai is a beautiful destination, and people from around the world often visit the cosmopolitan city for entertainment, food, and work. Having DXB as the short reference to the city’s name makes it unique and exciting.

What Does DXB Stand For?

If you were to ask someone what DXB stands for, they would directly answer you, saying Dubai. While DXB is the written short form of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, it mainly refers to the airport code.

DXB is the IATA airport code for Dubai International Airport, so when someone is specifically talking about the Dubai airport, they can simply refer to it as DXB. Aviation experts and staff also use DXB to reference airport and flight systems.

Here is a fun fact: If you google “DXB,” it immediately comes up as Dubai International Airport.

That tells you that DXB is a direct reference to the airport and its systems. Dubai International Airport is also not the only airport in the city, albeit the main and largest one.

What Is IATA?

IATA is short for International Air Transport Association. It is the airport code, also known as the location identifier or IATA station code.

It combines three characters making an alphanumeric geocode that designates many airports and metropolitan areas worldwide.

IATA codes make it simpler to reference airports like JFK in New York City, LAX in Los Angeles, LHR in Heathrow, London, and JNB in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The codes help to avoid confusion in the travel industry and help identify airlines, destinations, and traffic documents.

Why Dubai Uses DXB Instead of DUB?

When the IATA creates the codes for airports, they generally take the first three letters of the city’s name of the first letter, one from the middle, and one at the end, or the letters that change the syllables in the name.

It would make sense to make the code for Dubai’s airport “DUB.” Dubai’s airport code is DXB instead of DUB because DUB was already taken for Dublin airport, which existed before Dubai came along.

The letter X is used as a variable, so it fills the gap for alphanumeric codes when another letter is unavailable because it is taken or when it wouldn’t make sense to use another.

Why Do People Refer To Dubai As DXB?

If you have ever seen someone using DXB to refer to the city or something related to Dubai, even if it has nothing to do with the airport, you are probably wondering why.

If DXB is a reference to the airport specifically, then why are people using Dubai in the general sense?

With social media being the center of peoples’ lives and the primary form of communication, simplified methods of typing names, places, and words, in general, have become more common.

New technology software has options for autocorrect, so it isn’t that difficult to type words in full, and gone are the days of Mxit and BBM, where everyone shortened every word.

That said, sometimes it is still easier to type a word in its shorter sense, so the general public, knowing that the world knows Dubai as DXB, simply uses the code as the city’s name. It is a mere fact of typing or writing that people use DXB.

Many people genuinely think that DXB is the abbreviated version of Dubai because they don’t know about the IATA codes and their relation to the airport systems.

If you ask someone what DXB is, they will respond by saying “Dubai” instead of Dubai International Airport.

Similarly, you can find people who refer to the airport as “DXB Airport” when typing or writing, whereas if you say DXB, it automatically translates to Dubai International Airport.

Is DXB The Only Airport In Dubai?

Dubai International Airport is not the only airport in Dubai; it is one of two existing airports. The city has a second airport called Dubai World Central (DWC), also known as Al Maktoum International Airport, based in the far South of the city.

Considering that, like many other cities worldwide with more than one airport, it would be confusing to refer to either as Dubai airport. Aviation mistakes would happen easily and frequently if that were the case.

The codes DXB and DWC help differentiate the two airports and their flights, systems, and required telecommunications.

Why ARE IATA Codes Important?

If you are wondering why the airport codes are necessary and how airports benefit from having them, here are a few things they are used for:

  • To use as designators for reservations
  • For flight scheduling
  • For airline timetables
  • For telecommunications
  • For ticketing purposes
  • For cargo documentation
  • For legal tariffs
  • Commercial and traffic purposes
  • For baggage handling
  • For identifying locations

The aviation industry is enormous. It is all connected.

From flights and airports to passenger and cargo traffic documents, it would be chaotic without a proper system and company running the administration work and creating a level of simplicity to help the business run smoothly.

When you consider the names of airports worldwide, or even in one city, it would be too much work, take too much space in paperwork, and be easier to make mistakes if the full and original airport names were used.

The IATA codes simplify things for legal and commercial purposes while assisting those involved in the aviation industry to reference airports, airlines, routes, and passengers easily. It also creates better professionalism and order in the business.


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