LATAM Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplane
Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

So You Think You Know Airline Codes? Test Your Knowledge. Part One.

Have fun with your friends who do not travel.

So you think you know airline codes? Well, you are about to find out.

This is the first in a series of articles here at The Gate With Brian Cohen with which you could have some fun at testing your knowledge pertaining to airline codes— and this article will start off with the easiest or best known airline codes, with subsequent articles increasing in difficulty as they delve into airlines which are smaller and lesser known…

So You Think You Know Airline Codes? Test Your Knowledge. Part One.

Airplane landing sunset
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

…but first, here is a little history about airline designator codes…

The International Civil Aviation Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations, established by States in 1944 to manage the administration and governance of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, which is also known as the Chicago Convention.

Airline codes designated by the International Civil Aviation Organization used to be comprised of only two letters for decades; but effective as of 1982 due to the increase in the number of airlines, they are currently comprised of three letters, which has been the official standard since 1987.

International Air Transport Association

airplane taxiway
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The International Air Transport Association represents, leads, and serves the airline industry to improve understanding of the air transport industry among decision makers and increase awareness of the benefits that aviation brings to national and global economies. Advocating for the interests of airlines across the globe, the organization challenges unreasonable rules and charges, holds regulators and governments to account, and strives for sensible regulation.

Initially based on International Civil Aviation Organization codes, codes for airlines are comprised of two letters as designated by the International Air Transport Association. The two letters can simply represent the name of the airline — or they could be based on the history or founding of the airline. They are used to identify an airline for commercial purposes in reservations, tickets, timetables, tariffs, air consignment notes, and in telecommunications.

International Civil Aviation Organization codes may — but not always — resemble International Air Transport Association simply by adding an extra letter to the airline code.

Airline Codes

Ryanair airplane at gate passengers
Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Here are 50 airline codes which will start off this series of articles:

  1. A3
  2. AA
  3. AC
  4. AF
  5. AK
  6. AI
  7. AM
  8. AR
  9. AS
  10. AT
  11. AV
  12. AY
  13. BA
  14. B6
  15. CM
  16. CX
  17. DL
  18. EK
  19. EY
  20. F9
  21. G4
  22. HA
  23. IB
  24. JL
  25. JM
  26. KE
  27. KL
  28. LA
  29. LH
  30. LO
  31. LX
  32. NH
  33. NK
  34. NZ
  35. OS
  36. QF
  37. QR
  38. PD
  39. SK
  40. SQ
  41. SU
  42. SY
  43. TG
  44. TK
  45. TP
  46. UA
  47. UX
  48. VS
  49. WN
  50. WS

Final Boarding Call

Propeller airplane ascending
Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

This series of articles is not meant to be an exhaustive list of airline codes.

You could test your knowledge of airline codes off the top of your head…

…or you could use a search engine to look up the answers — but really: what is the fun in that?

All photographs ©2014, ©2015, ©2016, and ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

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