Frequently Asked Questions on ch-aviation - Operators

ch-aviation offers you a very user friendly interface targeted at consumers, professionals and enthusiasts alike to search and analyse airline details. We have answered the most frequently asked questions below and hope this will address any immediate questions you may have on our airlines section of the site:


How do I use the operators search form?

You can either search operator by name or code or get a list of all operators in a specific country (or state). If you choose to search by name or country, start entering the operator name and we will dynamically offer you options in a dropdown list based on your entry. Alternatively you may search airports by IATA (two character) code or ICAO (three character) code If you select operator from the dropdown list; we will take you immediately to the operator detail page. Otherwise, you will be presented with a list of search results.


What do IATA and ICAO stand for?

IATA is the International Air Transport Association and assigns two letter codes to its member airlines and other carriers wishing to sell seats through the industry’s distribution channels. Some limited duplication of IATA codes is possible. ICAO is the International Civil Aviation Organization and assigns unique three letter codes for each airline in cooperation with the civil aviation authority of each country. IATA codes are generally mainly used for commercial purposes (i.e. airline reservations) while ICAO codes are used for operational purposes (i.e. air traffic control).


Does ch-aviation list every aircraft operator?

No, we do not. We aim to continuously increase the number of airlines or aircraft operators listed on our site with the same level of detail as currently provided. We currently provide information for all airlines provided scheduled passenger or cargo flights as well as commercial aircraft operators that operate aircraft with more than 15 seats. Selected private or business aviation operators have also been included.


Does ch-aviation have fleet list information for every operator and aircraft type?

We only provide fleet list information for a specific set of aircraft types but cover all relevant aircraft types in commercial airline service today with the exception of some regional types. The following aircraft types are currently covered:

  • Airbus A300/A310 / A318/A319/A320/A321 / A330/A340 / A350 / A380 / A400
  • Airbus Canada A220
  • Antonov An-124 / An-148/158178 / An-22* / An-225- / An-12
  • ATR 42/72
  • BAe ARJ-70/85/100 / BAe 146-100/-200/-300 / ATP / Jetstream 41
  • Boeing B707/720 / B717 / B727 / B737 / B747 / B757 / B767 / B777 / B787
  • Bombardier CRJ-100/200/700/900/1000
  • Cessna 408 SkyCourier
  • Concorde
  • COMAC ARJ21 / C919
  • Dassault Aviation Mercure
  • De Havilland Aircraft of Canada DHC-8
  • De Havilland Canada DHC-6 / DHC-7
  • Dirgantara Indonesia N219
  • Dornier 228/328/728
  • Embraer EMB-120 / C123 / ERJ-135/-140/-145 / EMB-170/175/190/195 / EMB-390
  • Fokker 28/70/100 / Fokker 50/60
  • Ilyushin 18* / 62 / 76* / 86 / 96 / 114
  • Irkut MC-21 / SSJ
  • Lockheed L1011 / L-749 Constellation / L-1049 Super Constellation / L-188
  • McDonnell Douglas DC-8 / DC-9 / DC-10 / MD-11 / MD-80/90
  • Mitsubishi MRJ90
  • Saab 2000 / 340
  • Tupolev Tu-134* / Tu-154 / Tu-204/214 / Tu-334
  • VFW-614
  • Viking Air DHC-6-400
  • Xian Aircraft Company MA-60/600
  • Yak-42


Please note that any other aircraft types not listed above will not be displayed in operator fleet list summaries or detail displays and by policy we will only add other aircraft types once we have the entire production list available up to ch-aviation standards. We are however constantly working on the addition of more aircraft types and will advise once they have been made available.

* Only active aircraft are listed.


Are all aircraft ordered but not yet delivered displayed in the fleet overview per carrier?

It is ch-aviation policy to only start displaying aircraft in fleet lists of carriers once either the construction number (c/n) or manufacturer serial number (MSN) is known, so the answer is no. The time period before delivery when we typically learn about the c/n and/or MSN assignments for aircraft orders varies by manufacturer.


What is a codeshare, regional partner or division?

Codesharing is a fairly common practice in the airline industry and as the word already suggests means that a flight operated by an operating carrier (that physically operates the flight) also carries one or multiple codes by other marketing carriers (that are only selling the flight operated by another carrier). The operating carrier operates the aircraft and offers its own product and gets the benefit that it is easier to sell its product through not just its own distribution channels but also through the marketing carrier. The marketing carrier can offer more destinations, connections or services on the same city pair thanks to placing its code on services operated by the partner. Maybe a controversial statement but think of it as Coca-Cola selling Coke and “Coke” (provided by Pepsi in Pepsi bottles and with Pepsi in the bottles). For example, United Airlines has a bilateral codeshare agreement with All Nippon Airways allowing the two Star Alliance carriers to offer more flights under their own code between the United States and Japan and more importantly a wide range of connections beyond their gateways on both sides of the Pacific.


Regional partnerships are either cases where an airline leases not just an aircraft from a leasing company (that would be considered a Dry-Lease) but where Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance are provided by another airline either at the risk of the main airline (ACMI or Wet-Lease by the regional carrier) or the opposite where the regional carrier operates as a regional partner under a franchise agreement. So to get back to the Coca-Cola example, a case where Coke (or a product similar to Coke) is provided by subcontractor in different bottles that uses the regional brand (Wet-Lease) or a case where Coke is provided by a franchisee that sells Coke bottles under a franchise license from Coca-Cola. Airlines use wet-leases for a variety of reasons, for example to make use of the better cost structure of regional carriers or to provide additional permanent or seasonal capacity, to operate an aircraft type that the airline itself does not wish to operate itself etc. United Airlines uses the services of regional carrier SkyWest Airlines for example, that operates hundreds of Bombardier regional jets on its behalf under the United Express brand and UA flight numbers. Franchise agreements allow regional carriers to use the sales and distribution processes, brand name etc. of its partner to sell seats at its own risk against a franchise fee payable to the larger partner. Scottish regional carrier Loganair operates most of its services under the Flybe. brand but at its own risk for example.


Airline divisions are shown separately in the ch-aviation fleet lists allowing you to look at the complete fleet list of the airline or for example just its cargo or VIP divisions.


What is a virtual carrier?

ch-aviation uses the term "virtual carrier" for companies that essentially act as tour operators but operate their businesses as if they were an airline except that they do not have an own air operator certificate and outsource all of the actual flights to other third party carriers that then operate the flights under their own air operator certificate. There is a fine line between a tour operator as such and one that we consider a virtual carrier that should be included in our Airlines section. If the tour operator predominantly sells "flight only" packages and operates services on a fixed schedule using its own brand name for the flights and not the name of the aircraft operator, we include them in our listings.