What Callsign do I use?

One of the age-old questions on VATSIM is "What Callsign do I use?"

Callsigns online are divided into TWO (2) types:


This is where a pilot will lodge a flight plan using the registration of the Aircraft he or she is flying.

All New Zealand registered aircraft are in the ZK range with three alpha characters. i.e. ZK-PDM.

In New Zealand Aircraft Registration Marks are allocated in alphabetical sequence according to the class of aircraft as follows:

ZK-A**, ZK-B**, ZK-GA*, and ZK-HA* are historical marks. Since 1987 these marks have been reserved for historical aircraft including helicopters and gliders. This is to enable the original aircraft to regain its original mark upon restoration.

ZK-FA* and ZK-FB* marks are reserved for balloons (they may use a fixed wing marks upon request).

ZK-G** marks are reserved for gliders.

ZK-H** and ZK-I** marks are reserved for helicopters.

ZK-RA*, ZK-RB*, ZK-RC*, and ZK-RD* marks are reserved for gyrocopters.

All ZK-Q** marks are not available for use – prohibited by ICAO.

All other marks are available for fixed wing aircraft.

When filing a flightplan on line, no hyphen is used, i.e. ZK-PDM would file as ZKPDM.


This is where a pilot will lodge a flight plan using the airline operator's ICAO code with the flight number appended. For example, an Air New Zealand flight from Auckland to Wellington would be shown on the airline schedules and in  the terminal as NZ419. NZ is the IATA code for this flight for travel agents and the airline to use for booking passengers.

This flight would be filed online as ANZ419.

A full list of Airline Operator Call Signs and Aircraft Call Signs in New Zealand can be downloaded from the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand website.