IATA airport code

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The IATA airport code ( Engl . IATA airport code or IATA station code , sometimes called IATA (Airport) Three Letter Code, (AP) 3LC ) is one of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) developed code to uniquely identify airfields . It consists of a combination of three alphabetical characters. For example, MUC stands for Munich Airport or AGB for Augsburg airfield .

At the same time, the ICAO airport codes, which consist of four letters, are also used worldwide . The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also issues three-letter codes for airports in the United States . These FAA codes are often identical to the IATA code, but also differ in many cases.

In addition to the three-letter codes for airfields, there are also IATA identifications for aircraft types (three alphanumeric characters) and airlines (two alphanumeric characters).


The primary goal of IATA is the standardization of all handling steps that come into consideration when transporting passengers and freight. An example of the application of the airport codes is the identification of the baggage, which is provided with the code of the destination airport at check-in .

In cities with several airports, logical groupings, so-called metropolitan areas, are formed with their own airport code.

This combination of several airports in a city is used, among other things, when booking a flight, if the city is to be specified, but the exact airport is of secondary importance.

The EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg (EAP) can be included in this, but is a special case with three identifications: in addition to EAP, BSL ( Basel ) in Switzerland and MLH ( Mulhouse ) in France; Distance: 2 minutes on foot. A flight from MLH to Paris is considered a domestic flight, whereas the same flight from BSL to Paris is an international flight.

Some other important transport hubs, such as train stations or ferry ports, are also assigned IATA airport codes (ZLP for Zurich main station or ZDH for Basel SBB station ).


This code is often conventional and easily recognizable (for example FRA = Frankfurt / Main Airport ), even if the abbreviations are mainly derived from the English spelling (for example CGN = Cologne = Köln ). The Pulkovo Airport near St. Petersburg has the code LED, which goes back to the previous name of Leningrad.

If large airports have a distinctive proper name, this is often used as a godfather (e.g. London Heathrow = LHR, Charles de Gaulle in Paris = CDG). This method is mainly used when airports with IATA airport codes that are otherwise similar and therefore confusable are located a short distance from one another. For example, Chicago O'Hare Airport has the IATA airport code ORD from its previous name ( Orchard Place Airport ). Other exceptions also exist. For example, all major Canadian airports are marked with a “Y” in the first place and some train stations begin with a Q. For example, the main train station in Saarbrücken is called “QFZ”.


See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Airport ABCs: An Explanation of Airport Identifier Codes