Where do IATA Codes Come From

IATA Codes :

All the Airports across the World are identified by specific three letter IATA Code assigned to them by IATA. IATA stands for International Air Transport Association . These IATA codes are used by Airport Operators,Airlines, Ticketing Agents across the globe. It is a standard practice followed by everybody. It is generally shown on the baggage tag at the airport. As per 2013 data, there are 41,743 airport in the World.

IATA Codes

IATA Codes


IATA Codes

IATA Codes



In general IATA codes are usually derived from the name of the airport or the city it serves. The assignment of these codes is basically 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.

Some Examples of IATA codes are as follows :

Heathrow- LHR




Los Angeles-LAX



There are certain points which are kept in mind while alloting IATA code :

  • The first and second letters or second and third letters of an identifier may not be duplicated with less than 200 nautical miles separation.
  • “N,” “W,” “K” and “Q” have been reserved by Military which cannot be used by any Airport across the world.


IATA Codes are generally not changed, however exceptions are always there :  “Two examples are [Washington Dulles International Airport], which originally was coded DIA but was changed to IAD as DIA was seen as being too much like [Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport] (DCA). Also, when [Idlewild Airport] was renamed in memory of President Kennedy, the code was changed to JFK.


Since N cannot be used All the airports of New Zealand airports use codes which contain a letter Z, to distinguish them from similar airport names in other countries. Examples include HLZ for Hamilton,  ZQN for Queenstown, and WSZ for Westport.



Application for issuing Location Identifier Code by IATA :  CLICK

All the Airports Code can be Searched : CLICK


  1. By Shobhit

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