IATA codes

There are about 2,000 airports in the world. Each airport has its unique code for identification. This distinction is very important to minimize the chance of confusing an airport, especially if several airports are in a given city. What are IATA codes, and what do they look like?

What are IATA codes?

IATA codes are unique codes the International Air Transport Association assigns to airports and airlines. The name IATA comes from the abbreviation of this association.

What do IATA codes look like?

The IATA code used in the aviation industry consists of two or three characters:

  • the three-character code is assigned to airports
  • the two-character IATA code is assigned to airlines.

Where are IATA codes used?

IATA codes are used to identify airports in computer systems, travel documents (including boarding passes), and operational communications. The airport code itself may refer to the name of the city that the airport is (e.g. WAW – Warsaw Chopin Airport) or to the name of the airport itself (e.g. JFK – John F. Kennedy Airport in New York).

IATA codes are also given to airlines to simplify baggage tracking and flight booking processes.

Examples of IATA codes in the world

Here are some examples of airports with IATA codes in the world.

IATA codes in Africa

  • Northern Africa: Cairo International Airport, CAI, Cairo, Egypt
  • Eastern Africa: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, NBO, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Middle Africa: N’Djili International Airport, FIH, Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Southern Africa: Windhoek Hosea Kutako International Airport, WDH, Windhoek, Namibia
  • Western Africa: Blaise Diagne International Airport, DSS, Dakar, Senegal

IATA codes in Asia

  • Western Asia: Heydar Aliyev International Airport, GYD, Baku, Azerbaijan
  • Central Asia: Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport, NQZ, Astana, Kazakhstan
  • Southern Asia: Indira Gandhi International Airport, DEL, Delhi, India
  • Eastern Asia: Incheon International Airport, ICN, Seoul/Incheon, South Korea
  • Southeastern Asia: Hanoi, Noi Bai International Airport, HAN, Hanoi, Vietnam

IATA codes in Europe

  • Eastern Europe: Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport, BUD, Budapest, Hungary
  • Northern Europe: Reykjavík Airport, RKV, Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Southern Europe: Lisbon Airport, LIS, Lisbon, Portugal
  • Western Europe: Berlin Brandenburg Airport, BER, Berlin, Germany

IATA codes in North America

  • Northern America: Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, DCA, Washington, D.C., the USA
  • Central America: Benito Juárez International Airport, MEX, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Caribbean: Juan Santamaría International Airport, SJO, San José, Costa Rica

IATA codes in South America

  • Simón Bolívar International Airport, CCS, Caracas, Venezuela
  • Brasília International Airport, BSB, Brasília, Brazil
  • Ministro Pistarini International Airport, EZE, Buenos Aires, Argentina

IATA codes in Oceania

  • Australia: Canberra Airport, CBR, Canberra
  • New Zealand: Wellington International Airport, WLG, Wellington
  • Melanesia: Nausori International Airport, SUV, Suva, Fiji
  • Micronesia: Roman Tmetuchl International Airport (nearby in Airai), ROR, Ngerulmud, Palau
  • Polynesia: Fuaʻamotu International Airport, TBU, Nukuʻalofa, Tonga

Other continents

  • Antarctica: Rothera Air Facility, QAR, the United Kingdom

Examples of IATA codes for airlines: ten busiest airlines in the world

Here are some examples of airlines IATA codes:

  1. AA: American Airlines, the United States
  2. DL: Delta Air Lines, the United States
  3. UA: United Airlines, the United States
  4. WN: Southwest Airlines, the United States
  5. CZ: China Southern Airlines, China
  6. MU: China Eastern Airlines, China
  7. FR: Ryanair, Ireland 
  8. LH: Lufthansa, Germany 
  9. AF: Air France, France 
  10. EK: Emirates, the United Arab Emirates 

Check the ranking of the top 50 cargo airports in the world.

Why are IATA codes necessary?

IATA codes improve many processes, including effective air traffic management. As the codes are international, organizing international travel or shipping is easier. Passengers and parcel senders can find the necessary flight information thanks to the codes.

How to find the IATA code?

To find the IATA code, go to the official IATA website > Publication > Directories > Codes – Airline and Airport Codes Search and enter the airline or airport you are searching for.

IATA codes search

ICAO is also an important term in the aviation industry. Find out what the difference is between IATA and ICAO.

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