AZA330
Topic Author
Posts: 206
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2004 6:20 am

One Flight, More Than One Flight Number

Thu Apr 28, 2011 10:41 pm

Hello all!
I was looking around on flightaware and I happened to notice that, for example, flight BA2166 from Tampa to London Gatwick, for the past several days is recorded with call sign BAW61T instead of the "normal" BAW2166.

http://flightaware.com/live/flight/B...T/history/20110427/2245Z/KTPA/EGKK

I had noticed something like that before (also on ATC feed), but this really got my attention. I tried to search around for the reason why a flight would not be called with what is really "its name" (BAW2166 in this case), but I did not find much.

Why do they use different flight numbers for one flight in the first place? As part of the previous question, does the format (00X, two numbers and a letter) and the letter itself mean something specific? What would the reasons be for doing it for so many days in row?

Thank you in advance for all your help!  
 
Viscount724
Posts: 19056
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:32 pm

RE: One Flight, More Than One Flight Number

Thu Apr 28, 2011 11:58 pm

Quoting AZA330 (Thread starter):
Why do they use different flight numbers for one flight in the first place? As part of the previous question, does the format (00X, two numbers and a letter) and the letter itself mean something specific? What would the reasons be for doing it for so many days in row?

How they assign the numbers/letters I don't know, but it's normally done to avoid having two similar flight numbers at the same time which can cause ATC confusion and could be a safety issue. It's very common.

For example, KLM 691 AMS-YYZ normally uses KLM 31 for ATC purposes, while their other AMS-YYZ flight uses the same number (KLM695) for both marketing and operational purposes.

Here's one earlier thread discussing the issue. There are quite a few others.
Letters After Flight Numbers (by Dr.DTW May 2 2009 in Civil Aviation)
 
bond007
Posts: 4423
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2005 2:07 am

RE: One Flight, More Than One Flight Number

Fri Apr 29, 2011 1:23 pm

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 1):
How they assign the numbers/letters I don't know,

...and different by airline of course.

Remember, the ATC callsign, and the IATA/ICAO Flight Designator/Number are 2 separate IDs. They are usually the same, for obvious reasons, but the ATC callsign does not need to match the flight number. ATC cares little about the IATA number - just about what callsign was filed with the flight plan.

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 1):
Here's one earlier thread discussing the issue. There are quite a few others.

Yes, seems to be a thread on this every few weeks/months!



Jimbo
I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!

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