Airline code

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Airline code
See also

Airline code established by IATA (International Air Transport Association) and ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization ) two- or three-character code that is assigned to the airline [1] (D.S. Chang, S.H. Chen, C.W. Hsu 2015, p. 7767-7768). Airline codes can be found on the official ICAO[2] and IATA[3] websites or in the tables containing both codes [4].


International Civil Aviation Organization ICAO,United Nations specialized agency, created in 1944 to manage international civil aviation. ICAO aims to assist the Member States in aviation-related matters, for example in terms of environmental liability, safety, efficiency and compliance with applicable law. ICAO's goals are[5](B. Lutte 2015, p. 2):

  • maintaining the same level of security in each region,
  • optimizing movement traffic flow in each region,
  • enabling data sharing and connectedness communication,
  • harmonization of standards, operational procedures and performance requirements,
  • achieving environmental goals,
  • harmonization of security standards,
  • development of global security coordination plans.

ICAO's two-character code is oriented towards pilots and air traffic controllers (professional users of the system). It is used for identifying airports, air traffic management, and weather reporting purposes.


International Air Transport Association IATA was founded in 1945 to promote economic and safe air services for the benefit of consumers. IATA's goals are[6](Official IATA website):

  • raising awareness of benefits,
  • regulatory accountability,
  • increasing passenger comfort while reducing costs,
  • deployment of sustainable low-carbon fuels,
  • creation of international standards (primarily three-character airline code),
  • simplification of aviation processes.

IATA's three-character code is known as a location identify -oriented towards users of the air transport system. It is used in ticketing, reservations, cargo documentation, timetables, liaison, and baggage routing. IATA codes are updated and shared every six months in the IATA Airline Coding Directory[7].



Author: Aleksandra Wilczyńska