Airport designation and naming code

To invent an airplane is nothing. To build one is something. To fly is everything.

- Otto Lilienthal.



Airports are uniquely represented by their IATA airport code and ICAO airport code. Most airport names include the location. Many airport names honour a public figure, commonly a politician (e.g. Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport) or a prominent figure in aviation history of the region (e.g. Will Rogers World Airport). Some airports have unofficial names, possibly so widely circulated that its official name is little used or even known. Some airport names include the word "International" to indicate their ability to handle international air traffic. This includes some airports that do not have scheduled airline services (e.g. Texel International Airport).

IATA airport code


An IATA airport code, also known an IATA location identifier, IATA station code or simply a location identifier, is a three-letter code designating many airports around the world, defined by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The characters prominently displayed on baggage tags attached at airport check-in desks are an example of a way these codes are used.

The assignment of these codes is governed by IATA Resolution 763, and it is administered by IATA headquarters in Montreal. The codes are published biannually in the IATA Airline Coding Directory. Most countries use four-character ICAO codes, not IATA codes, in their official aeronautical publications.

International Civil Aviation Organization member states

International Civil Aviation Organization member states

ICAO airport code


The ICAO airport code or location indicator is a four-character alphanumeric code designating each airport around the world. These codes are defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization, and published in ICAO Document 7910: Location Indicators.

The ICAO codes are used by air traffic control and airline operations such as flight planning. They are not the same as the IATA codes encountered by the general public, which are used for airline timetables, reservations, and baggage handling. IATA codes are usually derived from the name of the airport or the city it serves, while ICAO codes are distributed by region and country. For example, travellers who use London's Heathrow Airport will most likely be familiar with its IATA code: LHR. They are less likely, however, to be familiar with the ICAO code: EGLL.

ICAO codes are also used to identify other locations such as weather stations, International Flight Service Stations or Area Control Centers, whether or not they are located at airports.

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