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We all know that IATA and ICAO have different sets of codes for airports and airlines. My question is, why does IATA not agree to use the ICAO codes and end this duality. Note that the focus of the question is different from other code-related questions posed on this forum - in particular it's not "why do airports and airlines have two sets of codes ?". I understand that the ICAO codes are more general, have wider applicability etc so why can't IATA enslave their own codes to the ICAO ones ? And in some cases at least, the ICAO airline code is how Joe Q Public refers to the airline anyway (JAL, KLM, PIA, SIA .....). So why not just one set which is the ICAO set ?

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For airlines to switch from IATA codes to ICAO codes would cost money. A lot of money. Updating legacy hardware and software can be shockingly expensive.

To what end? Even long-term there is a disadvantage in that larger baggage tags are needed. What financial benefit do you imagine the airlines will reap from this transition that will make up for the costs?

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    $\begingroup$ Retraining the traveling public from NRT, DXB, AMS, ORY, LGW, and LIM to RJAA, OMDB, EHAM, LFPO, EGKK and SPJC would be quite the uproar as well. Sure, people can memorize anything, given sufficient time & incentive, but those two sets of abbreviations are not equally memorable! Sayings about not fixing things that aren't broken come to mind here. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Jul 14, 2023 at 4:46
  • $\begingroup$ Personally I do not find the ICAO codes harder to memorize than the IATA ones. Once you get the system - US begins K, Canada begins C, Western Europe begins E followed by the country representative letter, 'Viceroy's territories' are V (shame on someone, won't mention who) followed by the regional letter - memorizing them becomes quite easy. But then again, Americans find even the K to be confusing ..... $\endgroup$
    – user69764
    Jul 14, 2023 at 13:25
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    $\begingroup$ @AIC12302: "Europe begins E", plus L and B (U for ex-USSR countries) and some esoteric IDs for overseas territories. Also note IATA deals with passengers tickets, they need to manage their own codes, beyond airports. From their website (location identifiers section): "Bus or ferry stations may be eligible for an IATA location identifier". $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Jul 15, 2023 at 7:41

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