eTurboNews received a statement today from IATA’s Head of Corporate Communications, North America, Mr. Perry Flint, regarding an eTN article written by Mario Masciullo, eTN Italy correspondent, IATA-Associated Travel Agencies at the Breaking Point.
Mr. Flint requested that we offer them the opportunity to respond, and eTN is pleased to extend the conversation and publish the reply here:
IATA is committed to the Passenger Agency Program and to working with our travel agent partners at the local level through the Agency Program Joint Councils (APJCs) and globally through the Passenger Agency Program Global Joint Council (PAPGJC).
The Passenger Agency Conference (PAConf) acts on matters (excluding remuneration levels) relating to the relationships between airlines and travel agents. At the recent PAConf, IATA and member airlines continued to demonstrate commitment to modernizing the Passenger Agency Program in collaboration with our travel agent partners. The PAConf also addressed a number of issues that are negatively impacting airline distribution through the travel agency channel.
For example, in light of significant agency defaults, the PAConf proposed to address a minority of markets with weak Local Financial Criteria (LFC) or where financial criteria have not been reviewed in a long time. This would be done in cooperation with professional third-parties. The APJCs are not losing their role to discuss and recommend LFCs nor to review their LFC annually. Reflecting IATA and the PAConf’s commitment to the APJC process, all APJC proposals for changing LFCs were adopted, with just three amendments.
Additionally, the PAConf took steps to ensure the professionalism and quality of the independent mediation provided through the Travel Agency Commissioner (TAC) process. These changes provide clarity for all parties. The changes will not alter how cases are decided or the independence of the TAC.
Travel agents are essential partners to the airline industry and we urge travel agency associations, through their umbrella organizations, to join with IATA in the Passenger Agency Program Review Task Force. This task force will make recommendations to the PAConf on how to deliver a simplified Passenger Agency Program governance based on better and stronger collaboration.
This IATA statement was published via Twitter and Facebook on November 12.