What Are IATA Airport Codes

The IATA Code

What Does IATA Stand For

What Are IATA Codes Used For

Are They The Same As ICAO Airport Codes

How Are IATA Codes Issued

You will probably have seen IATA airport codes on your travels but not actually taken much notice of them or if you did, not actually realised what they were. Airports normally have two commonly used codes and these are the IATA airport codes and the ICAO airport codes. If you have travelled by air, you will surely have seen a three letter IATA code on your travel documents, luggage label or booking confirmation that provides.

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The IATA Airport Code

The IATA airport codes are codes that are assigned to each airport around the world. The codes usually consist of three letters are designed to help distinguish individual airports throughout the world. This is useful because many of the larger cities throughout the world have more than one airport servicing the city. Having IATA airport codes in place allows people to quickly distinguish which airport they are searching for.

The three letters are usually made up from the first three letters of the city to which the airport is located or they can be a combination of three letters in the airports name.

For Example:

The IATA code for Manchester Airport is MAN

The IATA code for London Heathrow Airport is: LHR

However, there are some airports that do not follow this rule for various reasons and it may be that the city they are located in has more than one airport or the airport actually crosses or services several counties, regions, towns or municipalities.

An example of this would be Leeds Bradford Airport who’s IATA code is: LBA

What Does IATA Stand For

IATA simply stands for ‘International Air Transport Association’ and it is the trade association for all the world’s airline.

The IATA code is also known as:

IATA location identifier

IATA station code

Location Identifier

What Are IATA Airport Codes Used For

Basically, the IATA airport codes are simply used to identify an airport but these simple three letter codes play an integral part in the everyday running of both an airport and an airline’s operations. They are also a big part of the travel industry itself and are used in providing passenger documents, cargo and other online bookings such as car hire, car parking, transfers. If you have ever booked your flights, car hire, car parking or airport transfers online, you will no doubt have been asked which airport you are departing from and which airport you are arriving at. Most of the search facilities will have either the name of the airport, the IATA airport code or both as an option.

Are IATA Airport Codes The Same As ICAO Airport Codes

No. both IATA airport codes and ICAO airport codes are different. Although they both identify an individual airport, they are used for different purposes. The IATA airport codes are more commonly seen by passengers as they are used throughout the travel industry on travel documents, booking forms and luggage labels. The ICAO airport codes are normally used for flight planning, flight tracking and also by the Air Traffic Control departments at the airports.

How Are IATA Airport Codes Issued

The IATA airport codes are issued and assigned to an airport by the IATA Resolution 763, who also govern the whole process from their administration headquarters in Montreal Switzerland. The codes are then published twice a year in the IATA Airline Coding Directory.

Below is a list of all the IATA airport codes of all the airports in the UK

Abbington Airport:                                                        ABB

Aldergrove International Airport, Belfast:               BFS

Anglesey Airport:                                                           HLY

Barra Airport:                                                                 BRR

Barrow/Wanley Island Airfield:                                  BWF

Benbecula Airport:                                                        BEB

Birmingham International Airport:                            BHX

Blackbushe Airport, Camberley:                                 BBS

Blackpool International Airport:                                BLK

Bournemouth Airport:                                                  BOH

Bristol Airport:                                                               BRS

Bristol Filton Airport:                                                    FZO

Cambridge Airport:                                                       CBG

Campbelton Airport:                                                     CAL

Cardiff Airport:                                                               CWL

Carlisle Airport:                                                              CAX

Castle Mill Airfield, Bedford:                                       BFC

Chichester/Goodwood Airport:                                  QUG

City of Derry Airport:                                                    LDY

Coventry Airport:                                                           CVT

Dundee Airport:                                                             DND

Durham Tees Valley Airport:                                       MME

Dyce Airport Aberdeen:                                                ABZ

East Midlands Airport:                                                  EMA

Eday Airport:                                                                   EDI

Edinburgh Airport:                                                         EDI

Elstree Airfield, London:                                               ETR

Exeter International Airport:                                       EXT

Fair Isle Airport:                                                             FIE

George Best Belfast City Airport:                                BHD

Glasgow International Airport:                                   GLA

Prestwick International Airport Glasgow:                PIK

Gloucestershire Airport, Staverton:                           GLO

Hawarden Airport Chester:                                          CEG

Humberside Airport Grimsby:                                     HUY

Inverness Airport:                                                           INV

Islay Airport:                                                                    ILY

Kent International Airport Canterbury:                     MSE

Kirkwall Airport:                                                             KOI

Land’s End Airport:                                                        LEQ

Latham Airfield Basingstoke:                                       QLA

Leeds Bradford Airport:                                                LBA

Liverpool John Lennon Airport:                                  LPL

London Ashford Airport:                                               LYX

London Biggin Hill Airport:                                          BQH

London City Airport:                                                       LCY

London Farnborough Airport:                                      FAB

London Gatwick Airport:                                               LGW

London Heathrow Airport:                                           LHR

London Luton Airport:                                                  LTN

London Southend Airport:                                           SEN

Manchester Airport:                                                      MAN

Newcastle Airport:                                                         NCL

North Ronaldsay Airport:                                             NRL

Norwich International Aiport:                                    NWI

Oban Airport:                                                                 OBN

Papa Westray Airport:                                                  PPW

Perth Airport:                                                                 PSL

Plymouth City Airport:                                                  PLH

RAF Benson:                                                                   BEX

RAF Brize Norton:                                                          BZZ

Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield:                 DSA

Sanday Airport:                                                               NDY

Scatsia Airport Lerwick:                                                SCS

Sheffield City Airport:                                                    SZD

Shoreham Airport:                                                          ESH

Southampton Airport:                                                   SOU

St. Mary’s Airport:                                                          ISC

Stansted Airport:                                                            STN

Stornoway Airport:                                                        SYY

Stronsay Airport:                                                            SOY

Sumburgh Airport:                                                         LSI

Swansea Airport:                                                            SWS

Tingwall Airport Lerwick:                                             LWK

Tiree Airport Balemartine:                                           TRE

Westray Airport Aikerness:                                          WRY

Wick Airport:                                                                   WIC

Below is a list of all the IATA airport codes for the main airports located throughout Ireland

Bantry Airport: BYT

Connaught Airport: NOC

Cork Airport: ORK

Donegal International Airport; CFN

Dublin Airport: DUB

Kerry County Airport: KIR

Shannon Airport: SNN

Sligo Airport: SXL

Waterford Airport: WAT

Galway Airport: GWY

Inishmore Airport: IOR

Castlebar Airport: CLB

Knowing the codes or having access to a list of all the IATA airport codes is handy to have, especially if you are searching for flights or car hire. We hope that you have found this guide beneficial and that it helps you understand the relevance to the IATA codes and helps you in your future booking before travel. If you would like to see a full list of IATA airport codes, please click on the link below.

Full list of IATA Airport Codes