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Flight number

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Flight numbers on a split-flap display (Frankfurt airport)

In the aviation industry, a flight number or flight designator is a code for an airline service consisting of two-character airline designator and a 1 to 4 digit number.[1] For example, QF9 is a Qantas Airways service from Perth, Australia to London Heathrow. A service is called "direct" if it is covered by a single flight number, regardless of the number of stops or equipment changes. For example, QF1 flies from Sydney to Singapore to London on Qantas Airways. A given flight segment may have multiple flight numbers on different airlines under a code-sharing agreement. Strictly speaking, the flight number is just the numerical part, but it is commonly used for the entire flight designator.

The flight designator of the operating carrier of a commercial flight is used as a call sign.[2] This is distinct from the aircraft's registration number, which identifies a specific airplane.


A number of conventions have been developed for defining flight numbers, although these vary widely from airline to airline, and are increasingly being modified.[3] Eastbound and northbound flights are traditionally assigned even numbers, while westbound and southbound flights have odd numbers. Other airlines will use an odd number for an outbound flight and use the next even number for the reverse inbound flight. For destinations served by multiple flights per day, numbers tend to increase during the day. Hence, a flight from point A to point B might be flight 401 and the return flight from B to A would be 402, while the next pair of flights on the same route would usually be assigned codes 403 and 404.

Flight numbers of less than three digits are often assigned to long-haul or otherwise premium flights. For example, flight number 1 is often used for an airline's "flagship" service (see below for a 'List of flight number 1 by airlines'). However, for airlines in Mainland China, one-digit and two-digit numbers are only reserved for administrative charters. Furthermore, Cathay Pacific assigns flight numbers which are less than 100 for cargo flights.

Four-digit numbers in the range 3000 to 5999 typically represent regional affiliate flights, while numbers larger than 6000 are generally codeshare numbers for flights operated by different airlines or even railways.

Likewise, flight numbers larger than 9000 usually refer to ferry flights; these carry no passengers and are used to relocate aircraft to or from a maintenance base, or from one air travel market to another in order to start new commercial flights. Flight numbers starting with 8 are often used for charter flights, but it always depends on the commercial carrier's choice.


In a codeshare, airlines share their aircraft with others, resulting in the flight having more than one flight number on the same sector, and either the same or different flight numbers on joined sectors.

As an example, QF8412 flies from Dubai to Sydney, but it is codeshared with and operated as EK412. Another example is QF3920, which is a flight from Lima, Peru to Santiago, Chile that is also codeshared with LATAM 523.

List of flight number 1 by airline[edit]

Most flights are non-stop from A to B, and few are from A to B then to C (both A-B and B-C have flight number 1). Aircraft type may change due to operation need.

Airline IATA Flight No ICAO Flight No From To Then to (if applicable) Aircraft Type
Aeroméxico AM1 AMX1[4][5] Mexico Mexico City Spain Madrid Boeing 787
Air Canada AC1 ACA1[6][7] Canada Toronto–Pearson Japan Tokyo–Haneda Boeing 777-300ER
Air Canada Express QK1 JZA1[8] Canada Montreal Canada Ottawa Bombardier CRJ900
Air France AF1 AFR1[9] United States New York–JFK France Paris–CDG Boeing 777-200 / 777-300ER
Air Japan NQ1 AJX1[10][11] Japan Tokyo–Narita Thailand Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi Boeing 787-8
Air Macau NX1 AMU1[12][13] China Beijing–Capital Macau Macau Airbus A321
Air New Zealand NZ1 ANZ1[14] United States New York–JFK New Zealand Auckland Boeing 787-9
Air Tahiti Nui TN1 THT1[15][16] United States Los Angeles French Polynesia Papeete Boeing 787-9
Alaska Airlines AS1 ASA1[17][18] United States Washington–Reagan United States Seattle Boeing 737-800
American Airlines AA1 AAL1[19][20] United States New York–JFK United States Los Angeles Airbus A321
Cape Air 9K1 KAP1[21][22] United States Martha's Vineyard United States Nantucket Cessna 402
Delta Air Lines DL1 DAL1[23][24] United Kingdom London–Heathrow Boeing 767-400ER
El Al LY1 ELY1[25][26] Israel Tel Aviv United States New York–JFK Boeing 787-9
Emirates EK1 UAE1[27][28] United Arab Emirates Dubai United Kingdom London–Heathrow Airbus A380-800
Etihad Airways EY1 ETD1[29][30] United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi United States New York–JFK Airbus A380-800 / Boeing 787-9
FedEx Express FX1 FDX1[31] United Kingdom London–Stansted United States Memphis Boeing 777F
Finnair AY1 FIN1[32] Finland Helsinki United States Los Angeles Airbus A350-900
Flydubai FZ1 FDB1 [33][34] United Arab Emirates Dubai Qatar Doha Boeing 737-MAX 8
Hawaiian Airlines HA1 HAL1[35][36] United States Los Angeles United States Honolulu Airbus A330-200
Japan Airlines JL1 JAL1[37][38] United States San Francisco Japan Tokyo–Haneda Boeing 777-300ER
Japan Transocean Air NU1 JTA1[39] Japan Osaka−Kansai Japan Okinawa−Naha Boeing 737-800
JetBlue Airways B61 JBU1[40][41] United States New York–JFK United States Fort Lauderdale Airbus A321-200 / Airbus A320-200
Jetstar JQ1 JST1[42][43] Australia Melbourne United States Honolulu Boeing 787-8
Jin Air LJ1 JNA1[a][44][45] South Korea Seoul–Incheon Thailand Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi Boeing 737-800
Korean Air Lines KE1 KAL1[46][47] Japan Tokyo–Narita United States Honolulu Boeing 777-200ER
LATAM Chile LA1 LAN1[48][49] Chile Santiago Chile Puerto Natales Airbus A320
LOT Polish Airlines LO1 LOT1[50][51] Poland Warsaw United States Chicago–O'Hare Boeing 787-8
Lufthansa LH1 DLH1[52][53] Germany Hamburg Germany Frankfurt Airbus A321 / A320neo
Malaysia Airlines MH1 MAS1[54][55] United Kingdom London–Heathrow Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Airbus A350-900
Nauru Airlines ON1 RON1[56][57] Nauru Nauru Australia Brisbane Boeing 737-300
Qantas QF1 QFA1[58][59] Australia Sydney Singapore Singapore United Kingdom London–Heathrow Airbus A380-800
Qatar Airways QR1 QTR1[60][61] Qatar Doha United Kingdom London–Heathrow Boeing 777-200LR / 777-300ER / Airbus A350-900
Scandinavian Airlines SK1 SAS1[62][63] Sweden Lulea Sweden Stockholm Airbus A320neo[64]
Skymark Airlines BC1 SKY1[65] Japan Tokyo–Haneda Japan Fukuoka Boeing 737-800
Southwest Airlines WN1 SWA1[66][67] United States Dallas–Love Field United States Houston–Hobby United States Corpus Christi Boeing 737-700 / 737-800 / 737-MAX 8
SpiceJet SG1 SEJ1[68][69] India Chennai Sri Lanka Colombo Boeing 737-800
Spirit Airlines NK1 NKS1[70][71] United States Fort Lauderdale United States Chicago–O'Hare Airbus A321 / Airbus A321neo
Starlux Airlines JX1 SJX1[72][73] United States Los Angeles Taiwan Taipei–Taoyuan Airbus A350-900
Turkish Airlines TK1 THY1[74][75] Turkey Istanbul United States New York–JFK Boeing 777-300ER
United Airlines UA1 UAL1[76][77] United States San Francisco Singapore Singapore Boeing 787-9
Zipair Tokyo ZG1 TZP1[78][79] United States Honolulu Japan Tokyo–Narita Boeing 787-8
  1. ^ Note Jin Air operates ICN-BKK as LJ1/2 in the Summer months (Mar-Oct) and as LJ3/4 in the winter months

A notable former flight number 1 was British Airways flight BA1, operated by the Concorde between London Heathrow and New York's John F. Kennedy airport. After the retirement of Concorde in 2003 the flight number was retired with it, however in 2009 it was given to the all business class A318 flight between London City Airport and New York JFK via Shannon in Ireland. This route ceased operation in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and British Airways has since announced it will not be restarting the service.

Flight number changes[edit]

Flight numbers are often taken out of use after a crash or a serious incident. Examples include:

Other considerations may lead an airline not to change a flight number; there are at least four instances of the same flight numbers that have suffered two serious accidents:

Flight number conservation[edit]

Airline mega mergers, in markets such as the United States, have made it necessary to break conventional flight numbering schemes. Organizations such as IATA, ICAO, ARC, as well as CRS systems and the FAA's ATC systems limit flight numbers to four digits (0001 to 9999). The pool of available flight numbers has been outstripped by demand for them by emergent mega-carriers. As such, some carriers use the same flight number for back-and-forth flights (e.g., DCA-PBI-DCA), or in other cases carriers have assigned a single flight number to a multi-leg flight (e.g., ICT-DAL-HOU-MDW-OMA-DEN-ABQ-LAS-BDL).[85]

Flight designator[edit]

Although 'flight number' is the term used colloquially, the official term as defined in the Standard Schedules Information Manual (SSIM) published annually by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Schedules Information Standards Committee (SISC), is flight designator. Officially the term 'flight number' refers to the numeric part (up to four digits) of a flight code. For example, in the flight codes QF103 and AF296Q, "103" and "296" are flight numbers. Even within the airline and airport industry, it is common to use the colloquial term rather than the official term.


Flight numbers are also sometimes used for spacecraft, though a flight number for an expendable rocket (say, Ariane 5 Flight 501) might more reasonably be called the serial number of the vehicle used, since an expendable rocket can only be launched once. Space Shuttle missions used numbers with the STS prefix, for example, STS-93. SpaceX uses sequential numbers for flights of reused boosters. As an example, Crew-2 used booster B1061.2 (the second flight of booster B1061).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ IATA Passenger Glossary of Terms (15 June 2018) [www.iata.org/whatwedo/passenger/.../IATA-Passenger-Glossary-of-Terms.xlsx]
  2. ^ ICAO, "Glossary" [1]
  3. ^ Peter Newell, "Flight Numbering Alternatives", Ascend: A Magazine for Airline Executives, issue 2, 2014 [2]
  4. ^ "AeroMéxico (AM) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  5. ^ "AM1 schedule. (Aeromexico flight: Mexico City -> Madrid)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  6. ^ "Air Canada (AC) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  7. ^ "AC1 schedule. (Air Canada flight: Toronto -> Tokyo)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  8. ^ "QK1 (JZA1) Jazz Flight Tracking and History 14-Feb-2024 (CYUL-CYOW)". FlightAware. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  9. ^ "AF1 schedule. (Air France flight: New York -> Paris)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  10. ^ "Air Japan (NQ)#1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  11. ^ "Air Japan Schedules Bangkok Launch in Feb 2024". AeroRoutes. Retrieved 2024-03-21.
  12. ^ "Air Macau (NX)#1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  13. ^ "NX1 schedule. (Air Macau flight: Beijing -> Macau)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-21.
  14. ^ "NZ1 schedule. (Air New Zealand flight: New York -> Auckland)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  15. ^ "Air Tahiti Nui (TN) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  16. ^ "TN2 schedule. (Air Tahiti Nui flight: Tahiti -> Los Angeles)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  17. ^ "Alaska Airlines (AS) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  18. ^ "AS1 schedule. (Alaska Airlines flight: Washington -> Seattle)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  19. ^ "American Airlines (AA) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  20. ^ "AA1 schedule. (American Airlines flight: New York -> Los Angeles)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  21. ^ "Cape Air (9K) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2024-03-18.
  22. ^ "9K1 schedule. (Cape Air flight: New York -> Nantucket via Martha's Vineyard)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  23. ^ "Delta (DL) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  24. ^ "DL1 schedule. (Delta Air Lines flight: New York -> London)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  25. ^ "El Al (LY) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  26. ^ "LY1 schedule. (EL AL flight: Tel Aviv-Yafo -> New York)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  27. ^ "Emirates (EK) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  28. ^ "EK1 schedule. (Emirates flight: Dubai -> London)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  29. ^ "Etihad Airways (EY) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  30. ^ "Etihad Designates Flight Number 1 New York Service From April 2024". AeroRoutes. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  31. ^ "FX1 (FDX1) FedEx Flight Tracking and History 09-Mar-2024 (STN / EGSS-KMEM)". FlightAware. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  32. ^ "AY1 schedule. (Finnair flight: Helsinki -> Los Angeles)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  33. ^ "flydubai (FZ) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2024-03-18.
  34. ^ "FZ1 schedule. (flydubai flight: Dubai -> Doha)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  35. ^ "Hawaiian Airlines (HA) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  36. ^ "HA1 schedule. (Hawaiian Airlines flight: Los Angeles -> Honolulu)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  37. ^ "Japan Airlines (JL) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  38. ^ "JL1 schedule. (JAL flight: San Francisco -> Tokyo)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  39. ^ "NU1 schedule. (Japan Transocean Air flight: Osaka -> Okinawa)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  40. ^ "JetBlue (B6) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  41. ^ "B61 schedule. (JetBlue Airways flight: New York -> Fort Lauderdale)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  42. ^ "Jetstar (JQ)#1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  43. ^ "JQ1 schedule. (Jetstar Airways flight: Melbourne -> Honolulu)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-21.
  44. ^ "Jin Air (LJ) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2019-08-05.
  45. ^ "Jin Air - All Nonstop Flights from ICN to BKK". FlightsFrom.com. Retrieved 19 Mar 2024.
  46. ^ "Korean Air Lines Co. (KE) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  47. ^ "KE1 schedule. (Korean Air Lines flight: Seoul -> Honolulu via Tokyo)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  48. ^ "LAN Airlines (LA) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  49. ^ "LA1 schedule. (LATAM Airlines Group flight: Santiago -> Puerto Natales)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  50. ^ "Lot - Polskie Linie Lotnicze (LO) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  51. ^ "LO1 schedule. (LOT Polish Airlines flight: Warsaw -> Chicago)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  52. ^ "Lufthansa (LH) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  53. ^ "LH1 schedule. (Lufthansa flight: Hamburg -> Frankfurt)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  54. ^ "Malaysia Airlines (MH) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  55. ^ "MH1 schedule. (Malaysia Airlines flight: London -> Kuala Lumpur)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  56. ^ "Nauru Airlines (ON)#1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  57. ^ "ON1 schedule. (Nauru Airlines flight: Nauru Island -> Brisbane)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-21.
  58. ^ "Qantas (QF) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  59. ^ "QF1 schedule. (Qantas flight: Sydney -> London via Singapore)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  60. ^ "Qatar Airways (QR) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  61. ^ "QR1 schedule. (Qatar Airways flight: Doha -> London)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  62. ^ "SAS (SK) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  63. ^ "SK1 schedule. (SAS flight: Lulea -> Stockholm)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  64. ^ "Flight history for SAS flight SK1". Flightradar24. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  65. ^ "BC1 schedule. (Skymark Airlines flight: Tokyo -> Fukuoka)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  66. ^ "Southwest (WN) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  67. ^ "Southwest Airlines flight WN 1 schedule". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  68. ^ "SpiceJet (SG) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2019-08-05.
  69. ^ "SG1 schedule. (SpiceJet flight: Chennai -> Colombo)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  70. ^ "Spirit Airlines 1". FlightAware. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  71. ^ "NK1 schedule. (Spirit Airlines flight: Fort Lauderdale -> Chicago)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  72. ^ "Starlux Airlines 1". FlightAware. Retrieved 21 May 2023.
  73. ^ "JX1 schedule. (Starlux Airlines flight: Los Angeles -> Taipei)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  74. ^ "Turkish Airlines (TK) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  75. ^ "TK1 schedule. (Turkish Airlines flight: Istanbul -> New York)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  76. ^ "United (UA) #1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  77. ^ "UA1 schedule. (United Airlines flight: San Francisco -> Singapore)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  78. ^ "Zipair Tokyo (ZG)#1 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  79. ^ "ZG1 schedule. (ZIPAIR Tokyo Inc. flight: Honolulu -> Tokyo)". info.flightmapper.net. Retrieved 2024-03-21.
  80. ^ "Malaysia Airlines to Retire Flight Number 370 - Southeast Asia Real Time - WSJ". Wall Street Journal. 2014-03-13. Archived from the original on 2014-03-14. Retrieved 2024-03-12.
  81. ^ "American Airlines Timetable Effective Sep 5 2001". www.departedflights.com. 2 Jul 2001. p. 90. Retrieved 2024-03-12.
  82. ^ "American Airlines Timetable effective Nov 1 2002" (PDF). airtimes.com. 1 Nov 2002. p. 56.
  83. ^ "AF 445 statt AF 447: Air France ändert Flugnummer auf der tragischen Unglücksroute" [AF 445 instead of AF 447: Air France changes the flight number of the route that had the tragic accident]. Baseler Zeitung (in German). 8 June 2009. Archived from the original on 12 June 2009. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
  84. ^ Mather, Kate (2013-08-06). "Asiana Airlines to change number of Seoul-S.F. flight after crash". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2024-03-12.
  85. ^ "The Science behind Flight Numbers". southwestaircommunity.com. June 9, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2019.