Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
IATA airport code
The IATA airport code is a three-letter alphabetic code designating many airports around the world. These codes are defined by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The IATA airport codes are published tri-annually in the IATA Airline Coding Directory. The assignment of these codes is governed by IATA Resolution 767, and it is administered by IATA headquarters in Montreal. IATA also provides codes for railway stations and for airport handling entities.
The codes are not quite unique: 323 of these possible 17,576 codes are used by more than one airport.
The characters prominently displayed on baggage tags attached at airport check-in desks are an example of a way these codes are used.
While the IATA codes are the most familiar airport codes to airline passengers, the 4-letter ICAO airport codes are becoming increasingly common within aviation. All international flights are flight-planned and tracked using ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) designators, and most GPS databases use ICAO codes to avoid conflicts with three-letter navigation-aid codes. Many countries, such as Canada, no longer use IATA codes in their official aeronautical publications.
A list of airports sorted by IATA code is available. Also, a list of rail stations codeshared in agreements between airlines and rail lines such as Amtrak, SNCF French Rail, Deutsche Bahn, Thalys International, and Swiss Rail is available.
- Airport ABCs: An Explanation of Airport Identifier Codes
- Airport code database, search by name, country, code, etc.
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