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International Air Transport Association (IATA)

International Air Transport Association

IATA is a non-government organization representing commercial airline companies transporting passengers and freight.

IATA is truly international, with offices in 53 countries and 256 members from 117 countries. The Head Office of IATA is in Montreal, Canada and it has an Executive Office in Geneva, Switzerland.

Malaysia Airlines is a member of IATA.

IATA Codes

IATA assigns codes to identify airlines, flights and airports. These codes are commonly used on passenger documentation.

  • The airline designator assigned to Malaysia Airlines by IATA is MH.
  • The flight code MH 370 was assigned by IATA to Malaysia Airlines for the flight between Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Beijing, China. The return flight from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur was MH 371.
  • The IATA identifier for Kuala Lumpur International Airport is KUL and the identifier for Beijing Capital International Airport is BJS.

Flight codes are 'retired' after an accident. From 14 March 2014, the new flight numbers to replace MH 370 and MH 371 are MH 318 (Kuala Lumpur to Beijing) and MH 319 (Beijing to Kuala Lumpur).

IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA)

IATA supports member airlines with operational issues and best practices including safety and security.

One of IATA's safety initiatives is the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) program. This is a quality audit which assesses the airlines management systems and controls. IOSA has become an international standard for airline operations. Airlines which achieved IOSA compliance or registration have a statistically lower accident rate than those which do not. In 2013 the total accident rate for IOSA carriers was 2.5 times lower than the rate for non-IOSA operators.

Airlines do not have to be members of IATA to be IOSA-registered. In 2014 there were 402 airlines on the IOSA registry that were not IATA members.

However,to be a member of IATA an airline company must be achieve and maintain IOSA registration.

From this it can be inferred that Malaysia Airlines, as a member of IATA, is also a quality-assured airline with management systems and controls that meet an internationally recognized standard (IOSA) for airline operations.

Advance Passenger Information (API)

Over 90 countries now require airlines to send API before the flight’s arrival. More countries are planning to introduce similar requirements in the near future. API information usually consists of data found in the Machine Readable Zone (MRZ) of passports and other travel documents (full name, date or birth, gender, passport number, country of citizenship, country of passport issuance).

However, some countries require information that cannot be machine-read. IATA's aim is to ensure that all countries requiring API-type data harmonize their requirements with global standards and guidelines.[1]

Passenger Name Records (PNR)

Access to PNR is required in 50 countries today and this number is continuously growing. PNR contain data provided by travellers at the time of booking, and are held in airlines’ reservation systems until check-in. However, most legislations state that personal data should only be used for the purposes it was given, unless explicitly authorized by the data subject, should not be kept for an excessive amount of time and must only be seen by those that have a need to see it.

Governments must reach an agreement with each other in order to protect citizens' rights, while maintaining border integrity and facilitating passenger flow. IATA is keen to see a global solution to this growing issue of access to PNR.[1]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Source: IATA Facilitation and Passenger Data retrieved 13 June 2023