Flight Number :- Officially the term refers to the numeric part (up to four digits) of a flight code. For example, in the flight codes BA2490 and BA2491A, “2490” and “2491” are flight numbers. Even within the airline and airport industry, it is common to use the colloquial term rather than the official term.

After a fatal accident, most airlines quietly stop using the associated flight number. The four flight numbers involved in the Sept. 11 attacks—United Flights 93 and 175 and American Airlines Flights 11 and 77—are all permanently retired.

Airlines generally retire a flight number if the latter was involved in a fatal accident. For example,let’s consider infamous MH370 which vanished from the skies  while performing the flight between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing in 2014. Malaysian airlines perform this flight nowadays but with another  flight number – MH 360.

BEIJING, CHINA – MARCH 8: The relatives of the ones boarded on Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, carrying 227 onboard which is reported to be missing after the crew failed to check in as scheduled while flying over the sea between Malaysia and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, keep waiting at Beijing airport, March 8, 2014. (Photo by Ali Ihsan Cam/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Fatalities don’t seem to be a requirement. US Airways stopped using flight number 1549 after Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger “miracle” landing on the Hudson saved all 155 people onboard the crippled plane.

American Airlines isn’t currently using number 2253, after a 2010 runway over run that damaged the aircraft but resulted in no injuries.

AirlineFlight CodeNew Code
British AirwaysBA1na
Pan Am103na
American Airlines77149
US Airways15491543
Malaysian AirlinesMH370/371MH318/319
Malaysian AirlinesMH17MH19

The reason for the change is that many people remember the flight number, adding that the airline didn’t want its customers to have “that kind of image.”

List of accidents and incidents involving commercial aircraft in 2020

  • January 8 – Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, a Boeing 737-800 bound for Kyiv, Ukraine, crashes shortly after taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran, Iran, after being hit by two surface-to-air missiles launched by Iranian military forces; all 176 crew and passengers on board are killed
  • January 14 – Delta Air Lines Flight 89, a Boeing 777-200, dumps fuel over several schools and neighborhoods while returning to Los Angeles International Airport due to a compressor stall, injuring 56.
  • January 27 – Caspian Airlines Flight 6936, a McDonnell Douglas MD-83, flying a domestic flight from Tehran, Iran, overruns the runway on landing at Mahshahr Airport, Iran; the aircraft comes to a stop on a road injuring 2 of the 144 passengers and crew onboard.
  • February 5 – Pegasus Airlines Flight 2193, a Boeing 737-800 operating a domestic flight between İzmir and Istanbul in Turkey, skids off the runway and drops down an embankment on landing at Sabiha Gökçen International Airport; three of the 183 people on board are killed.
  • May 4 – An East African Express Airways Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia crashes after being fired upon by Ethiopian ground forces during a charter cargo flight carrying pandemic relief supplies to Berdale, Somalia; all four passengers and two crew are killed.
  • May 7 – Southwest Airlines Flight 1392, a Boeing 737-700, strikes a man on landing at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Austin, Texas. The man is killed but no one on the aircraft is hurt.
  • May 22 – Pakistan International Airlines Flight 8303, an Airbus A320, crashes in a residential neighborhood in Karachi minutes before a second attempted landing at Jinnah International Airport. 2 passengers survive among the 99 onboard. One victim on the ground later dies from her injuries.
  • August 7 – Air India Express Flight 1344, a Boeing 737-800 operating an international repatriation flight, crashes on landing at Kozhikode International Airport, skidding off the runway and plunging into a gorge; 20 occupants are killed, including both pilots.
  • August 22 – A South West Aviation Antonov An-26 crashes in a residential area after taking off for a charter cargo flight from Juba International Airport, South Sudan, killing 8 of 9 people on board.


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