In addition to individual-airport codes, IATA, the FAA, and various booking engines have assigned "metropolitan area codes" which represent several airports serving a metropolitan area. Not every region served with multiple airports is assigned a location identifier, however, nor are all IATA-recognized facilities necessarily included; furthermore, the inclusion or exclusion of a facility may depend on the booking system.
For example, the NYC IATA code, representing the New York City area, includes flights to John F Kennedy International Airport JFK IATA, Newark Liberty International Airport EWR IATA and LaGuardia Airport LGA IATA. In some systems, Westchester County Airport HPN IATA is also included; however, ZYP IATA (New York Penn Station), ISP IATA (Islip Airport), and JRA IATA (West 30th Street Heliport) are generally not.
Metropolitan area airport codes are handy for simplifying flight searches into or out of a region. Some booking engines which include airports based on distance from a point can be tricked into extending the search through use of the city code.
Extra caution is advised when booking connecting flights, however, as the inbound leg may arrive at a different airport from the outbound leg, necessitating a ground transfer that may be costly or time-consuming. In particular, many major cities channel most international flights through one airport and most domestic or short-haul flights into a different one.
Smaller domestic airports are more likely to be served by low cost airlines but that might also force you to re-check your luggage. Ask your airline if they allow interlining tickets — checking your luggage through to the final destination on multiple tickets.
List of airport area codes
Metropolitan areas are organised alphabetically; first by region then by area. Many flight search engines may not recognise all these group codes when making queries.
- Beijing, China BJS IATA
A new airport is under construction (as of 2019) at the extended grounds of SXF. While no opening date is known yet and previous planned dates as early as 2011 have passed, the new airport will eventually have the IATA code BER with Tegel Airport most likely shutting down. Its IATA code and that of Schönefeld Airport will not be used any more.
- Basel, Switzerland and Mulhouse, France: EAP IATA - This is a special case as all codes refer to (separate areas of) the same airport, which is shared between France and Switzerland. Flights may be priced (and treated) differently depending on the airport code you book. All flights from France to MLH are treated as domestic flights, while flights from France to BSL are not. For search engines that can handle it, EAP should find quotes for both BSL and MLH
- London, United Kingdom LON IATA
- London Biggin Hill BQH IATA (small general aviation airfield)
- London City LCY IATA
- London Gatwick LGW IATA
- London Luton LTN IATA
- London Heathrow LHR IATA
- London-Liverpool Street Station (British Rail Terminal for STN) ZLS IATA
- London-Paddington Rail Terminal (British Rail Terminal for LHR) QQP IATA
- London-St Pancras Rail Terminal (Eurostar and British Rail Terminal for LTN) QQS IATA
- London Southend SEN IATA
- London Stansted STN IATA
- London-Victoria Station (British Rail Terminal for LGW) ZEP IATA
- London-Waterloo Rail Station (former Eurostar) QQW IATA
- Moscow, Russia MOW IATA
- Rome, Italy ROM IATA
- Chicago, United States of America- CHI IATA
- Detroit, United States of America- DTT IATA
- Houston, United States of America QHO - Recognized in Sabre and ITA but not IATA
- Los Angeles, United States of America QLA - Recognized in Sabre and ITA but not IATA
- Miami, United States of America QMI - Recognized in Sabre and ITA but not IATA
- New York City, United States of America NYC IATA
- San Francisco Bay Area, United States of America QSF - Recognized in Sabre and ITA; elsewhere, QSF IATA represents Ain Arnat Airport in Setif, Algeria
- Toronto, Canada YTO IATA
- Washington DC, United States of America WAS IATA
- Buenos Aires, Argentina BUE IATA
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil RIO IATA
- São Paulo, Brazil SAO IATA