A Parliamentary panel on Friday objected to the Gaya airport code “GAY”, calling it inappropriate for a city that is considered holy by some people, PTI reported. The panel said the Centre must get the code changed.

However, the Union Civil Aviation ministry stated that the International Air Transport Association, which assigns codes for airports, has said it cannot be changed without a “justifiable reason primarily concerning air safety”.

In January, the Committee on Public Undertakings tabled its first report in Parliament recommending that the airport code of Gaya be changed from “GAY” and suggested an alternate code “YAG”. As Gaya is considered holy by some people, the committee said the code name is “inappropriate, unsuitable, offensive and embarrassing”.

Tabling an action taken report in Parliament on Friday, the committee said the Centre has been asked to make all efforts to take up the issue with the International Air Transport Association as it involves “inappropriate code naming of an airport of a holy city of our country”, PTI reported.

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The aviation ministry said the matter regarding the code name was referred to the International Air Transport Association by Air India.

“Gaya airport IATA code ‘GAY’ has been in use since operationalisation of Gaya airstrip,” the ministry was quoted as saying to the panel. The International Air Transport Association cited Resolution 763 and said that location codes are considered permanent and require a “strong justification” regarding air safety.

The ministry told the panel that unless it is a case of air safety, the International Air Transport Association has expressed its inability to change the airport code.