Justplanesmart From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 707 posts, RR: 2 Reply 5, posted (11 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 1298 times:
Do the math. With letters only, there are 26*26 total combinations-676. That is not very many for the entire world's airlines. Obvious, some had to get some that were not close to their operating name. Including numerals for the second digit only adds 260 more for 936-and that includes such unlikely ones as O0 and I1. Going to three-letter codes allows for 17576 codes, so that makes possible some that are more fitting to the operating name-CES for China Eastern instead of MU, for example. So, what is the three-letter code for Horizon Air, stuck with the two-letter monstrosity QX? Well, QXE, of course. Go figure.
Lutfi From China, joined Sep 2000, 737 posts, RR: 0 Reply 11, posted (11 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 1228 times:
JB = Helijet Airways
SW=Namib Air (South West Africa)
JE= Manx (used to be Jersey European)
They are assigned by IATA on first come, first served basis. If airine goes bankrupt, code goes back into the pool.
However, swaps have occurred. An Austrian airline (Air Tyrol) I believe swaped ND with Airlink's VO. ND has bad connotations in Central Europe... As both were small airlines, the cost of changing the computer systems etc. was low.
Lj From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4326 posts, RR: 0 Reply 14, posted (11 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 1152 times:
VB is already taken. Its owned by Maersk Ltd, the British subsidiary of Maersk. This IATA code was originally in the possesion of Bimighan European (or something like that) and was later taken over by maersk and renamed Maersk Ltd.
KLM Cityhopper claimed "WA" after it became available because KLM intended to use this IATA code for its Wings Alliance.
BTW not all airlines use their IATA code. Some airlines for example Onur Air and Freebird regulary uses its three letter ICAO code (OHY and FHY respectively) for their flights.
Britair From United Kingdom, joined Aug 1999, 933 posts, RR: 17 Reply 16, posted (11 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 1123 times:
It is interesting to have had codes re-born....
TN - was Australian Airlines (TAA) and is now Air Tahiti Nui
AE - was Air Europe now Mandarin Airlines
BR - was the lovely (and much missed!) British Caledonian now EVA Air
TE - was Air New Zealand (from when they were TEAL, then they adopted NZ from NAC their domestic wing) now Lithuanian Air Lines
UN - was Eastern Australia Airlines (now uses QF) now Transaero
Sonic From Lithuania, joined Jan 2000, 1670 posts, RR: 1 Reply 17, posted (11 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 1113 times:
Don't know why Lithuanian taken TE actually... I know some airline uses 3 letter codes, like WEA - White Eagle Aviation. I don't know why Lithuaian Airlines didn't taken "LAL" since this one is officially used abbreviation, at their first livery word LAL was even written on tails.
PW100 From Netherlands, joined Jan 2002, 2161 posts, RR: 12 Reply 20, posted (11 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 1075 times:
Yes, since the early nineties IATA has allowed swaps. I believe the first airline to make use of it was Eurowings who took up EW. EW was assigned to East West Airlines of Australia. Prior to that Eurowings flew NS code.
Immigration officer: "What's the purpose of your visit to the USA?" Spotter: "Shooting airliners with my Canon!"
Searpqx From Netherlands, joined Jun 2000, 4343 posts, RR: 11 Reply 21, posted (11 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 1063 times:
It gets interesting for some of us 'old timers' who were around when one airline had a code, then the original airline when bankrupt, code was reassigned then a new carrier was started up from the ashes of the old one.
My favorite is OZ. Originally assigned to Ozark in the US, was assigned to Asiana when they started service in the 90s. When Ozark returned to the skies (briefly), I had to remind myself that OZ was still Asiana and that Ozark was not flying from SEL to SEA!
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