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Iata Vs. Icao

Wed Mar 17, 2004 4:02 pm

I'm a relative newcomer to these forums, but have worked at Gander Radio for the past 12+ years. I've noticed reading these forums that most people use IATA designators for airlines and airports as opposed to ICAO ones. What is the reason for this? In my line of work, everything is ICAO and I rarely hear mention of IATA standards. All flight plans that come through CYQX are in ICAO format and not IATA. Is there a reason for this? With the increasing automatic reporting on the North Atlantic via ADS/CPDLC, we will occasionally get the odd aircraft that is logged on with their IATA designator, ie. UA as opposed to UAL. In these rare cases, the aircraft in question is requested to logon as UAL925 as opposed to UA925, and if they are unable to comply they are required to resume normal voice reporting. Just curious?
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RE: Iata Vs. Icao

Wed Mar 17, 2004 4:45 pm

Air traffic Control Agencies (or Administrations and related departments) are strictly using ICAO designators for airlines as well as airports but I guess they are the only ones. It may be due to the fact that the international organization is making reference in this very specific domain.

ATC services need a lot more location indicators as many small non-commercial airfields are used by business jets and general aviation. They also need more operators designators as these include not only airlines but as well FBOs, ATC units or administrations (a single unit/administration might use 3 or 4 different codes corresponding to the same number of departments).

On another hand, airlines' commercial and other internal services, as well as travel agents, are using the IATA designators. Why have the 2 different systems never been harmonized? No idea.

The sky has no limit...
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RE: Iata Vs. Icao

Wed Mar 17, 2004 5:28 pm

Thanks Patrice, I guess I never really sat down and thought about it too much - HF radio addles the brain after all.....did you say something  Smile Like you say, you can fit alot more aerodromes in the XXXX format as opposed to XXX and the same goes for aircraft operating agencies. btw, just curious as to what carriers you handle most of the time. I know one of our HF frequencies (8879 KHz) is shared with alot of the air/ground stations in your neck of the woods (Mumbai, Seychelles, Mauritius, Colombo, Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, etc) I've often wished for a list of air/ground ATC freqs over there as I've copied countless position reports in your area. It would be nice to be able to tell them who they should be talking to  Smile
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RE: Iata Vs. Icao

Thu Mar 18, 2004 12:59 pm

Anytime Mike,

We're dealing here with all the Gulf carriers of course (Emirates, Gulf Air, Qatar Airways, Egypt Air, Saudia, Etihad, Al Arabia, Yemenia... not to forget Oman Air).

In addition to these, we have some others from the neighboring countries (India, Pakistan, Iran, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka...). Some Asian carriers are as well benefiting from our service (Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Malaysian Airlines, Indonesian, Thai Airlines, Korean Air, Nepal Airlines...).

And finally, Oman being on one of the 2 or 3 main routes between Asia and Europe, we deal daily with most of the European airlines (British Airways, KLM, Air France, Alitalia, CSA...), including the ones from the main charter airlines groups (Britannia, Condor, LTU...).

Muscat airport is far behind others in the Gulf like Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Bahrain in terms of traffic but the Omani airspace is quite busy with the overflying one.
Muscat ACC (en-route control centre) uses 3 VHF (124.7 - 123.95 - 118.15 MHz) to render ATC service.

The sky has no limit...
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RE: Iata Vs. Icao

Wed Mar 24, 2004 12:31 am

IATA is an entity that was primarily formed to be specific to airline (passenger and freight) operations worldwide. This is opposed to ICAO who oversea all aircraft operation worldwide, regardless of what operation it is engaged in.

The Worldwide Computer Reservation Systems (CRS), this network links travel agents, airlines and airport handlers worldwide. Information regarding airline operation is entered into this system by airlines worldwide. (Schedules, Equip Type, Fares, Availability etc). Without getting to far off the topic, this system utilises IATA designators.

As a consequence, anyone engaged in an airline related business, generally refer to destinations by there IATA code. Generally speaking, Flight Crew are the only ones who use ICAO designators as there function is governed by ICAO.

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RE: Iata Vs. Icao

Tue Mar 30, 2004 6:30 pm

I think that in this forum IATA code are used more than ICAO due to the fact that IATA are more simple to remember that ICAO.
For me read EGLL or LHR are the same but for non aviation people it cam be hard to understand.
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RE: Iata Vs. Icao

Tue Apr 13, 2004 8:02 am

I think that IATA is used more often because if someone doesn't know what, say, DKR is, they just mouse over it and it tells them what it is. Very convienient. It also is easier to remember as Ba299 mentioned, DKR as opposed to GOOY, which are you going to remember more?
Proudly from the Home of the Red Tail.
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RE: Iata Vs. Icao

Tue Apr 13, 2004 7:42 pm

My theory:
ICAO (4 digit) is needed for the large number of airports, but many airports don't have tagged luggage going to them, so 3 digits is enough for pax service.

THE site for converting IATA<->ICAO for Airlines and Airports:

"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
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RE: Iata Vs. Icao

Thu Apr 15, 2004 3:46 pm

Hi Starlionblue,
Thanks for let us know the link to ICAO> a lot of ??? though.

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RE: Iata Vs. Icao

Fri Apr 16, 2004 11:53 am

As TAA Airbus stated, those of us that work in the airline business tend to use the IATA system since that is what our computer reservations system uses. When looking up flights, all our information uses the two letter IATA airline code and three letter city code. If we work the ramp, all bag tags also use the three letter city code. The ICAO codes are used operationally when dealing with flight releases which of course have to use what ATC uses.

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RE: Iata Vs. Icao

Sun Apr 25, 2004 11:13 pm

A couple of decode websites without the omissions!
Air Routing International ICAO/IATA codes
Airline Codes
Both sites very comprehesivem, with a fair amount of extra information...


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