IATA Airline Codes are used to identify an
airline for all commercial purposes. the two character airline
designator is assigned by IATA in accordance with the provisions
of Resolution 762. The two character airline designator listed
are for use in reservations, timetables, tickets, tariffs,
air waybills, schedules publications and in airline interline
telecommunications, as well as for the airline industry applications.
IATA assigns three types of two character airline designators.
Unique, numeric/alpha and controlled duplicate. (Source:
The Airline Codes
IATA codes are an integral part of the travel
industry. There are three main coding systems:
- airline designators (e.g. AF = Air France)
- location identifiers (e.g. GVA = Geneva)
- accounting or prefix codes for transport
documents (e.g. the accounting code 076 at the beginning
of a ticket number identifies it to be a traffic document
of Middle East Airlines). The same number can be used for
cargo documentation and is known as an "airline prefix".
These coding systems are essential for the
identification of an airline, its destinations and its traffic
The codes are fundamental to the smooth running
of hundreds of computer systems which have been built around
these coding systems for passenger and cargo traffic purposes.
Regarding airline designators, other non-airline
companies such as railway, bus and ferry companies, computer
reservations systems (CRSs) and ULD owners/leasing companies
may also be assigned an IATA airline codes. Airlines that
do not qualify for IATA codes but operate at airports with
automated baggage sortation systems may be eligible for a
baggage tag issuer code.
Regarding location identifiers, bus, rail
or ferry locations may be eligible for an IATA code if requested
by an airline or CRS. (Source: IATA)