Understanding The Different Airport Codes

The correct meaning of an airport code is the short cipher that one uses to identify each airport when looking at the code. There are two main types of codes, IATA and ICAO. The IATA code is the most common system utilized to identify different airports.   This IATA is the agency that issues all of the IATA codes assigned to each airport..


On the internet IATA code is used as three letters in direction finders and ticket purchasing sites. ICAO, a four letter cipher, is mainly needed for flight related jobs and international dealings.


The IATA abbreviation stands for the International Air Transport Association. The airport codes distributed by the IATA are used by them everywhere, especially to mark luggage and find airline seats.


The IATA publishes the codes biannually from their headquarters in Montreal. Upon issuance, the airport is given a three letter cryptogram.


Once an appropriate period of time has elapsed, a code that has been discontinued for some reason can be re-used at another airport. These codes are highly useful for security, air cargo tracking, and for international transfers.


An airport will be using a Location Identifier rather than its own code if it is too small to have one. Railroads are also given codes by the IATA.


ICAO stands for the International Civil Aviation Organization. The IACO is the one who puts codes on each item. These ciphers are focused on travel and international transport. The IACO airport code for each of them gets issued through the ICAO Document 7910: Location Indicators. They are used for air traffic control, flight planning and air cargo tracking, rather than for the general public. The ICAO code for Heathrow airport is EGLL while the IATA code is LHR. The IACO codes refer to region, and that is where their name comes from.


The first letter stands for the continent or region, the second letter depicts the country, and the third and fourth letters stands for the name of the specific airport in most cases. For airports with no IACO codes, if needed, the fake code of ZZZZ can be temporarily used.


You can select airports by both ICAO and IATA codes. However, each airport code is significant to a specific airdrome.


ICAO codes are used for light plans and air transport information whereas IATA codes are used for baggage and airline reservations. No matter which code you use of the two, it is definitely nice to know that the airports have you covered.

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