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An IATA airport code, also known as an IATA location identifier, IATA station code or simply a location identifier,[1] is a three-letter code designating many airports around the world, defined by the International Air Transport Association
International Air Transport Association
(IATA). The characters prominently displayed on baggage tags attached at airport check-in desks are an example of a way these codes are used. The assignment of these codes is governed by IATA Resolution 763, and it is administered by IATA headquarters in Montreal. The codes are published semiannually in the IATA Airline Coding Directory.[2] IATA also provides codes for railway stations and for airport handling entities. A list of airports sorted by IATA code is available. A list of railway station codes, shared in agreements between airlines and rail lines such as Amtrak, SNCF
SNCF
French Rail, and Deutsche Bahn, is available. There is also a separate list of Amtrak
Amtrak
station codes, three-character codes used by Amtrak
Amtrak
for its railway stations in the United States
United States
and Canada. List[edit] List of airports by IATA code: A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z

See also: List of airports by ICAO code

History and conventions[edit] Airport
Airport
codes arose out of the convenience that it brought pilots for location identification in the 1930s. Initially, pilots in the United States used the two-letter code from the National Weather Service (NWS) for identifying cities. This system became unmanageable for cities and towns without an NWS identifier, thus a three-letter system of airport codes was implemented. This system allowed for 17,576 permutations, assuming all letters can be used in conjunction with each other.[3] Generally speaking, airport codes are named after the first three letters of the city in which it is located—ATL for Atlanta, SIN for Singapore, ASU for Asunción, MEX for Mexico City, IST for Istanbul; or a combination of the letters in its name, EWR for Newark, GDL for Guadalajara, JNB for Johannesburg, HKG for Hong Kong, SLC for Salt Lake City and WAW for Warsaw. Some airports in the United States retained their NWS codes and simply appended an X at the end, such as LAX for Los Angeles, PDX for Portland, and PHX for Phoenix.[3] Sometimes the airport code reflects pronunciation, rather than spelling, such as NAN, which reflects the pronunciation of "Nadi" as [ˈnandi] in Fijian, where "d" is realized as the prenasalized stop [ⁿd]. For many reasons, some airport codes do not fit the normal scheme described above. Some airports, for example, cross several municipalities or regions, and mix the letters around, giving rise to DFW for Dallas–Fort Worth, DTW for Detroit–Wayne County, LBA for Leeds Bradford (Airport), MSP for Minneapolis–Saint Paul, and RDU for Raleigh–Durham. Canada
Canada
originally used two letters for identification of a weather reporting station in the 1930s. Additionally, preceding the two-letter code, was placed a Y (meaning "yes") where the reporting station was co-located with an airport, a W (meaning "without") where the reporting station was not co-located with an airport, and a U where the reporting station was co-located with an NDB. An X was used if the last two letters of the code had already been taken by another Canadian ident, and a Z was used if the locator could be confused with a U.S. three letter ident. In large metropolitan areas, airport codes are often named after the airport itself instead of the city it serves, while another code is reserved which refers to the city itself. For instance:

Beijing
Beijing
(BJS) – Capital (PEK) and Nanyuan (NAY) Berlin
Berlin
(BER) – Berlin
Berlin
Tegel Airport
Airport
(TXL) and Berlin Schönefeld Airport
Airport
(SXF), both of which may be replaced by Berlin Brandenburg Airport
Airport
(BER) in the future Bucharest
Bucharest
(BUH) – Otopeni
Otopeni
(OTP) is named after the town of Otopeni
Otopeni
which the airport is located, while the city also has another airport inside the city limits, Băneasa (BBU). Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
(BUE) – Ezeiza (EZE) is named after the suburb in Ezeiza Partido
Ezeiza Partido
which the airport is located, while the city also has another airport in city proper, Aeroparque Jorge Newbery
Aeroparque Jorge Newbery
(AEP). Chicago
Chicago
(CHI) – O'Hare (ORD), named after Orchard Field, the airport's former name which took it, and Midway (MDW) Jakarta
Jakarta
(JKT) – Soekarno–Hatta (CGK) is named after Cengkareng, the district in which the airport is located, while the city also has another airport, Halim Perdanakusuma (HLP). JKT had referred to the city's former airport, Kemayoran Airport
Airport
which is now closed. London
London
(LON) – Heathrow (LHR), Gatwick
Gatwick
(LGW), London
London
City (LCY),[3] Stansted (STN), Luton (LTN) and Southend (SEN) Milan
Milan
(MIL) – Malpensa (MXP), Linate (LIN) and Orio al Serio (BGY) Montreal
Montreal
(YMQ) – Trudeau (YUL), Mirabel (YMX), and Saint-Hubert (YHU) Moscow
Moscow
(MOW) – Sheremetyevo (SVO), Domodedovo (DME), Vnukovo (VKO) New York City
New York City
(NYC) – John F. Kennedy (JFK, formerly Idlewild (IDL)), La Guardia (LGA), and Newark Liberty (EWR) Osaka
Osaka
(OSA) – Kansai (KIX) and Itami (ITM, formerly OSA) Paris
Paris
(PAR) – Orly (ORY), Charles de Gaulle (CDG), Paris–Le Bourget Airport
Airport
(LBG) and Beauvais–Tillé Airport
Airport
(BVA) Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
(RIO) – Galeão (GIG) and Santos Dumont (SDU) Rome
Rome
(ROM) – Fiumicino (FCO) and Ciampino (CIA) São Paulo
São Paulo
(SAO) – Congonhas (CGH), Guarulhos (GRU) and Campinas (VCP) Sapporo
Sapporo
(SPK) – Chitose (CTS) and Okadama (OKD) Seoul
Seoul
(SEL) – Incheon (ICN) and Gimpo (GMP, formerly SEL) Stockholm
Stockholm
(STO) – Arlanda (ARN), Bromma (BMA), Nyköping–Skavsta (NYO) and Västerås (VST) Tokyo
Tokyo
(TYO) – Haneda (HND) and Narita (NRT) Toronto
Toronto
(YTO) – Pearson (YYZ), Bishop (YTZ), Hamilton (YHM), and Waterloo (YKF) Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
(WAS) – Dulles (IAD), Reagan (DCA), and Baltimore–Washington (BWI)

Or using a code for the city in one of the major airport and then assign another code to another airport:

Bangkok
Bangkok
(BKK) – Suvarnabhumi (BKK) and Don Mueang (DMK) Dubai
Dubai
(DXB) – International (DXB) and Al Maktoum (DWC) Johannesburg
Johannesburg
(JNB) – O. R. Tambo (formerly Jan Smuts) (JNB) and Lanseria (HLA) Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur
(KUL) – Sepang (KUL) and Subang (SZB) Medellín
Medellín
(MDE) – José María Córdova (MDE) and Olaya Herrera (EOH) Nagoya
Nagoya
(NGO) – Centrair (NGO) and Komaki (NKM) Shanghai
Shanghai
(SHA) – Pudong (PVG) and Hongqiao (SHA) Taipei
Taipei
(TPE) – Taoyuan (TPE) and Songshan (TSA) Tehran
Tehran
(THR) – Imam Khomeini (IKA) and Mehrabad (THR)

When different cities with the same name each have an airport, the airports need to be assigned different codes. For example,

Birmingham–Shuttlesworth International Airport
Airport
(BHM) is in Birmingham, Alabama, United States
United States
and Birmingham
Birmingham
Airport
Airport
(BHX) is in Birmingham, England, United Kingdom. Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport
Airport
(SJC) is in San Jose, California, United States
United States
and Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) is in San José, Costa Rica. Portland International Jetport
Portland International Jetport
(PWM) is in Portland, Maine, while Portland International Airport
Airport
(PDX) is in Portland, Oregon.

Sometimes, a new airport is built, replacing the old one, leaving the city's new "major" airport code to no longer correspond with the city's name. The original airport in Nashville, Tennessee was built in 1936 as part of the Works Progress Administration and called Berry Field with the designation, BNA. A new facility known as Nashville International Airport
Airport
was built in 1987 but still uses BNA. This is in conjunction to rules aimed to avoid confusion that seem to apply in the United States, which state that "the first and second letters or second and third letters of an identifier may not be duplicated with less than 200 nautical miles separation."[3] Thus, Washington D.C. area's three airports all have radically different codes: IAD for Washington–Dulles, DCA for Washington–Reagan (District of Columbia Airport), and BWI for Baltimore (Baltimore–Washington International, formerly BAL).[3] Since HOU is used for William P. Hobby Airport, the new Houston–Intercontinental
Houston–Intercontinental
became IAH.[3] The code BKK was originally assigned to Bangkok–Don Mueang and was later transferred to Suvarnabhumi Airport, while the former adopted DMK. Shanghai–Hongqiao retained the code SHA, while the newer Shanghai–Pudong adopted PVG. The opposite is true for Berlin, the airport Berlin–Tegel uses the code TXL, while its smaller counterpart Berlin–Schönefeld uses SXF; the new Berlin
Berlin
Brandenburg Airport
Airport
is going to have the code BER. Hamburg (HAM) and Hannover (HAJ) are less than 100 NM apart and still use the same first and middle letter, indicating that this rule might be followed only locally. Since the US Navy reserved "N" codes and the Federal Communications Commission has reserved rights for "W" and "K", certain U.S. cities which begin with these letters had to adopt "irregular" airport codes: EWR for Newark, ORF for Norfolk, Virginia, EYW for Key West, Florida, and APC for Napa, California.[3] This "rule" does not apply outside the United States: Karachi
Karachi
is KHI, Warsaw
Warsaw
is WAW, Nagoya
Nagoya
is NGO. In addition, since "Q" was used for international communications, cities with "Q" beginning their name also had to find alternate codes, as in the case of Qiqihar
Qiqihar
(NDG), Quetta
Quetta
(UET) and Quito
Quito
(UIO). IATA codes should not be confused with the FAA identifiers of US airports. Most FAA identifiers agree with the corresponding IATA codes, but some do not, such as Saipan whose FAA identifier is GSN and its IATA code is SPN, and some coincide with IATA codes of non-US airports. Many cities retain historical names in their airport codes, despite the fact that their official name or its official spelling or transliteration is now different:

in Armenia: LWN for Gyumri
Gyumri
(formerly Leninakan) in Bangladesh: DAC for Dhaka
Dhaka
(formerly Dacca) in Canada: YFB for Iqaluit
Iqaluit
(formerly Frobisher Bay) in China: PEK for Beijing
Beijing
(formerly Peking), TSN for Tianjin
Tianjin
(formerly Tientsin), CKG for Chongqing
Chongqing
(formerly Chungking), TAO for Qingdao (formerly Tsingtao), and CAN for Guangzhou
Guangzhou
(formerly Canton). The older IATA codes follow Chinese postal romanization, introduced in 1906, officially abolished in 1964 and in use well into the 1980s, while gradually superseded by Pinyin in Greenland: most airports, including SFJ for Kangerlussuaq
Kangerlussuaq
(formerly Søndre Strømfjord) and GOH for Nuuk
Nuuk
(formerly Godthåb) in India: BOM for Mumbai
Mumbai
(formerly Bombay), CCU for Kolkata
Kolkata
(formerly Calcutta), and MAA for Chennai
Chennai
(formerly Madras) in Indonesia: TKG for Bandar Lampung
Bandar Lampung
(formerly Tanjung Karang), UPG for Makassar
Makassar
(formerly Ujung Pandang). In addition, when the Enhanced Indonesian Spelling System was introduced in 1972, a few older IATA codes retained the previous spelling: BTJ for Banda Aceh
Banda Aceh
(formerly Banda Atjeh), DJJ for Jayapura
Jayapura
(formerly Djajapura), JOG for Yogyakarta
Yogyakarta
(formerly Jogjakarta) in Kazakhstan: TSE for Astana
Astana
(formerly Tselinograd), SCO for Aktau (formerly Shevchenko), GUW for Atyrau
Atyrau
(formerly Guryev), DMB for Taraz (formerly Dzhambyl), PLX for Semey
Semey
(formerly Semipalatinsk) in Kyrgyzstan: FRU for Bishkek
Bishkek
(formerly Frunze) in Moldova: KIV for Chișinău
Chișinău
(formerly Kishinev) in Montenegro: TGD for Podgorica
Podgorica
(formerly Titograd) in Myanmar: RGN for Yangon
Yangon
(formerly Rangoon) in Russia: LED for St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg
(formerly Leningrad), GOJ for Nizhny Novgorod (formerly Gorky), SVX for Yekaterinburg
Yekaterinburg
(formerly Sverdlovsk), KUF for Samara (formerly Kuybyshev), OGZ for Vladikavkaz (formerly Ordzhonikidze) and others in Tajikistan: LBD for Khujand
Khujand
(formerly Leninabad) in Turkmenistan: KRW for Türkmenbaşy (formerly Krasnovodsk); CRZ for Türkmenabat
Türkmenabat
(formerly Chardzhev) in Ukraine: IEV for Kiev; VSG for Luhansk
Luhansk
(formerly Voroshilovgrad); KGO for Kropyvnytskyi
Kropyvnytskyi
(formerly Kirovograd); LWO for Lviv (formerly Lwów while part of Poland until 1939, and still called Lvov in Russian) in Vietnam: SGN for Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City
(formerly Saigon)

Some airport codes are based on previous names associated with a present airport, such as Chicago's O'Hare, which is assigned ORD, based on its old name of Orchard Field, before it was expanded and renamed O'Hare in the mid-1950s. Similarly, Orlando International Airport
Airport
uses MCO, based on the old McCoy Air Force Base, which was converted to joint civilian/military use and renamed Orlando Jetport at McCoy in the early 1960s and finally Orlando International in the early 1980s. Other airport codes are similarly not immediately obvious in origin, and each have their own peculiarities. Nashville uses BNA, Knoxville
Knoxville
uses TYS, and Kahului
Kahului
(the main gateway into Maui) uses OGG, while Spokane International Airport
Airport
goes by GEG. Most of these are named after individuals.[3] In Asia, codes that do not correspond with their city's names include Niigata's KIJ, Nanchang's KHN, Pyongyang's FNJ, and Kobe's UKB. Some airports are identified even in colloquial speech by their airport code. The most notable examples are LAX and JFK. Most large airports in Canada
Canada
have codes that begin with the letter "Y", although not all "Y" codes are Canadian (for example, YUM for Yuma, Arizona) and not all Canadian airports start with the letter "Y" (for example ZBF for Bathurst, New Brunswick). Many Canadian airports have a code that starts with W, X or Z, but none of these are major airports. When the Canadian transcontinental railways were built, each station was assigned its own two letter Morse code. VR was Vancouver, TZ Toronto, QB Quebec, WG Winnipeg, SJ St. Johns, YC Calgary, OW Ottawa, EG Edmonton, etc. When the Canadian government established airports, it used the existing railway codes for them as well. If the airport had a weather station, authorities added a "Y" to the front of the code, meaning "Yes" to indicate it had a weather station, or some other letter to indicate it did not. When international codes were created in cooperation with the United States, because "Y" was seldom used in the US, Canada
Canada
simply used the weather station codes for its airports, changing the "Y" to a "Z" if it conflicted with an airport code already in use. The result is that most major Canadian airport codes start with "Y" followed by two letters in the city's name: YOW for Ottawa, YWG for Winnipeg, YYC for Calgary, and YVR for Vancouver, whereas other Canadian airports append the two letter code of the radio beacons that were the closest to the actual airport, such as YQX in Gander and YXS in Prince George. Four of the ten provincial capital airports in Canada
Canada
have ended up with codes beginning with YY, including YYZ for Toronto, Ontario, YYJ for Victoria, British Columbia, YYT for St. John's, Newfoundland, and YYG for Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Canada's largest airport is YYZ for Toronto–Pearson (YTZ was used for Toronto
Toronto
City Airport, so YYZ is the station code for a village called Malton, which is where Toronto
Toronto
Pearson International Airport
Airport
is actually located). YUL is used for Montréal–Trudeau (UL was the ID code for beacon in the city of Kirkland, now the location of Montréal–Trudeau). While these codes make it difficult for the public to associate them with a particular Canadian city, some codes have become popular in usage despite their cryptic nature, particularly at the largest airports. Toronto's YYZ code has entered pop culture in the form of a popular rock song utilizing the "YYZ" Morse code signal. Some airports have started using their IATA codes as marketing brands. Calgary International Airport
Airport
has begun using its airport code YYC as a marketing brand and name for the airport authority web site (yyc.com),[4] while Vancouver
Vancouver
International Airport
Airport
advertises as YVR (yvr.com). Numerous New Zealand airports use codes which contain a letter Z, to distinguish them from similar airport names in other countries. Examples include HLZ for Hamilton, ZQN for Queenstown, and WSZ for Westport. It is also noteworthy that there are several airports with scheduled service that have not been assigned ICAO codes that do have IATA codes. For example, several airports in Alaska that have scheduled commercial service, such as Stebbins Airport
Airport
or Nanwalek Airport, using FAA codes instead. There are also airports with scheduled service for which there are ICAO codes but not IATA codes, such as Nkhotakota Airport/Tangole Airport
Airport
in Malawi
Malawi
or Chōfu Airport
Airport
in Tokyo, Japan. Also several minor airports in Russia
Russia
which instead use internal Russian codes for booking. Flights to these airports can't be booked through the international air booking systems (or have luggage transferred all the way), instead booked through the airline or a domestic booking system. Thus, neither system completely includes all airports with scheduled service. See also[edit]

Airline codes Airspace class Computer network naming scheme, another possible use of IATA airport codes Geocoding ICAO airport code International Air Transport Association
International Air Transport Association
code UN/LOCODE

References[edit]

^ IATA. "IATA - Codes - Airline and Airport
Airport
Codes Search". www.iata.org.  ^ IATA. "IATA - Airline Coding Directory". www.iata.org.  ^ a b c d e f g h " Airport
Airport
ABCs: An Explanation of Airport
Airport
Identifier Codes". Air Line Pilot. Air Line Pilots Association. 1994. Retrieved 6 January 2012.  ^ "YYC: Calgary
Calgary
Airport
Airport
Authority". Retrieved 22 March 2015. 

External links[edit]

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Metropolitan area airport codes.

IATA official web site IATA Airline and Airport
Airport
Code Search United Nations Code for Trade and Transport Locations (UN/LOCODE) – includes IATA codes " Airport
Airport
ABCs: An Explanation of Airport
Airport
Identifier Codes". Air Line Pilot. Air Line Pilots Association. December 1994.  Airport
Airport
IATA/ICAO Designator / Code Database Search (from Aviation Codes Central Web Site – regular updates) Airport
Airport
codes from around the world (Searchable IATA, ICAO, FAA codes, etc.) IATA codes database for developers

v t e

Geocoding systems

Administrative codes

HASC NUTS (EU) ONS MARC country codes SGC codes (Canada) UN M.49 (UN)

Airport
Airport
codes

IATA airport code ICAO airport code

Country codes

IANA country code ISO 3166-1

alpha-2 alpha-3 numeric

IOC country code FIFA country code

Geodesic place codes

Global

Geohash Geohash-36 GEOREF Geotude SALB Marsden square Military Grid Reference System Munich Orientation Convention Natural Area Code Open Location Code QDGC UN/LOCODE UTM what3words WMO squares

North America

FIPS country code (FIPS 10-4) FIPS place code (FIPS 55) FIPS county code (FIPS 6-4) FIPS state code (FIPS 5-2) SGC codes

Postal codes

Natural Area Code Postal Index Number
Postal Index Number
(India) ZIP Code
ZIP Code
(United States)

Telephony

ITU-R country codes ITU-T country calling codes ITU-T mobile calling codes

Radio broadcasting

Maidenhead Locator System Historical : QRA locator

Sport

IOC country codes

.