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Topic Author
Posts: 106
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2016 9:54 pm

Flight numbers?

Thu Mar 28, 2019 12:56 pm

I realised just now that something I had taken for granted I was familiar with is, now I think about it, not as clear in my head as I thought, so may I ask....

What prefix does ATC (and the pilots) use to identify their flight number. I am not talking about their callsign...

For instance, British Airways: The pilots and ATC would use 'Speedbird 25' or whatever over the radio. But what flight number would the pilots of that flight enter into the FMC for example? BA25? Not BAW25 I assume? And Singapore Airlines would use SQ100, not SIA100?

Is the IATA code always used, not the ICAO code? If so, what code is used for airlines (most!) which do not have an IATA code, only an ICAO one? None at all, just the number?

Been Googling, but not found a good answer as yet...

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Joined: Sat Jun 10, 2017 3:32 am

Re: Flight numbers?

Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:13 pm

For anything that's "official", ICAO code is always used. Thus, let say, British Airways Flight 11 (LHR-SIN) would be filed as BAW0011, from EGLL to WSSS.

ICAO, being a "governing" organization, means its code is used for any "official" (i.e. Navigation, ATC, etc.) purpose
IATA, being a trade organization, means its code is used for ticketing and reservation system.

FR24 explains it in the FAQ:

More confusing is that, nowaday, some flights used alphanumeric callsign that doesn't necessarily correspond to its flight number. i.e. BA11 could be "BAW1YC", with Callsign "Speedbird 1 Yankee Charlie". Again, FR24 explains it better than I do. Such alphanumeric system is more common in Europe right now than rest of the world. ... confusion/
Topic Author
Posts: 106
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2016 9:54 pm

Re: Flight numbers?

Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:07 pm

Hi ..

I had always taken it that it is the IATA code that would be used in the FMC (just to stick with that example of the usage I am talking about - not ticketing, callsigns and so on), but maybe not then. So for flight BA238, BAW29G, not BAW238 would be the flight number entered into the FMC. I suppose the alphanumeric code is the same for every BA238 flight, or does the code change for whatever reason?

The second link you posted has quite a bit on all this (and is just what I was looking for as an explanation) - I need to read it over one more time as I am still not 100% clear on what pilots use as the flight number in their flight instruments..


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