IATA-associated travel agencies are at the breaking point
ECTAA (The European Travel Agents and Tour Operators Association) and WTAAA (World Travel Agents Associations Alliance) joined forces against IATA, accused it of having unilaterally changed the dynamics of bargaining between airlines and travel agencies.
The joint note of the two organizations, in fact, lashes out against the 41st Passenger Agency Conference (held in Geneva on October 30 and 31) that would have given the green light to the process of dismantling agents’ consultations on financial criteria and the role of mediators between the distributors and the vendors.
Among the ECTAA subjects, involved in the debate, is Alfredo Pezzani of the air transport committee of the association, as well as a member of FTO.
In fact, despite the strong opposition of travel agents, it seems that IATA has approved a mechanism, that allows it to review the financial criteria, that the agents must meet to be accredited (Local Financial Criteria), without going through the bilateral agreements contained in the Agency Program Joint Council.
Moreover, IATA is overhauling the figure of the Travel Agency Commissioner (TAC), which has an independent mediation role when an agent wants to question an IATA decision that could damage his business.
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According to ECTAA and WTAAA, in fact, every change to the figure of the TAC must be discussed and approved by the so-called Passenger Agency Program Global Joint Council (PAPGJC).
The agents, however, accuse IATA of having made changes, during the last Geneva conference, without even considering the counterpart in a “closed-door” meeting.
«This is a slap in the face to all IATA-associated agents and to the community of agencies all over the world – comments Michel de Blust, general secretary of the ECTAA – This is not a collaborative approach and, above all, highlights the distortions of the IATA regulations. If a cooperative approach is not possible, we will have to continue in other ways.»