Call for a new model to govern indirect air distribution

The Travel Agent Community met with IATA Director General to discuss the modernization of the rules governing the indirect air distribution. Today’s IATA Passenger Agency Programme is no longer fit for purpose as it does not optimally address the broad and varied needs of all the stakeholders within the distribution chain.

WTAAA, ECTAA and ETTSA, representing travel agents as well as travel technology companies respectively, met with the new Director General of IATA, Alexandre de Juniac, today in Geneva. The aim was to have an exchange of views on the current initiatives to modernise the IATA rules and standards for indirect air distribution, such as NewGen ISS.

While acknowledging positive developments, the travel agent Community highlighted the need for more work. A recent study carried out by ETTSA and ECTAA identified five key areas of concerns to the non-airline distribution chain players. Based on interviews with senior representatives of different distribution chain stakeholders, including agents, airlines, and GDSs, the study makes a number of recommendations to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the IATA Passenger Agency Programme, notably:

Governance: Change from ‘airlines only’ governance to inclusive approach

Risk management: Rebalance the key elements of how risk is controlled and managed between Airlines and Agents

Accreditation: Increase both process efficiency and ensure transparency of pricing

Resolutions – processes and system: Replace unbalanced unidirectional resolutions with balanced ‘business rules’

Payments: Encourage alternative forms of payments and abandon rule prohibiting Agents to pay with their credit card

Said President of ECTAA, Merike Hallik: « The travel distribution environment is evolving and this must be reflected in the distribution rules. A more efficient and balanced governance model is required. We believe the proactive way in which IATA handled the modernization of the Cargo Agency Programme, which is based on joint governance, could be a template for the Passenger Agency Programme. »

Added President of WTAAA, Otto de Vries: « The travel agent Community is pleased with this first exchange of views with Mr. Juniac and is committed to perusing the discussions with IATA in the various consultative bodies, such as the PAPGJC ».

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