An interesting recent question led us to the truth that IATA airline codes can be recycled after a period of retirement when a carrier ceases operations.

This makes me wonder whether IATA does anything similar with airport codes. Especially since we use those codes here a lot, including as tags.

You would think not since there would likely be some negative ramifications, but I didn't expect airline codes could change either.

  • 1
    Should't this question be on the main site arther than here ???
    – user3470
    Aug 4 '13 at 7:25
  • @MarcelC.: To me it's not directly related to a problem I'm facing as a traveller but if you guys want to move it then go for it. Aug 4 '13 at 11:13
  • I don't care. I just wondered because a highly similar question has been asked and accepted on the main site: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/19361/…
    – user3470
    Aug 4 '13 at 13:18
  • 1
    Yeah I know, I'm not really a fan of "interesting fact tangentially related to travel" questions, but that one seemed pretty much to be an "actual problem faced" by the OP compared to this one. Aug 5 '13 at 2:37
  • I agree with you. But there is a significant amount of these on the main site. Just have a lookbat tags like factoids, where on earth, identify this ... these seem to be welcome according to the vote scores
    – user3470
    Aug 5 '13 at 7:36
  • Yeah I know - I even invented some of those tags. I'll leave it up to the community as to whether to move this to the main or leave it here in meta. Aug 5 '13 at 11:11

My understanding is that it's possible, but very rare, since airports disappear far less often than airlines, and when old airports are replaced by new ones, the new one almost always adopts its predecessor's code.

Probably the best-known example is IDL, which used to be Idlewild, New York City's main airport. When that airport was renamed JFK, the old code was reassigned to Indianola, Iowa -- although technically, IDL is only the FAA's code for Indianola, and IATA has not reused the code. (The two match 99% of the time, but there are some exceptions.)

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