World Travel Agents Group Seeks Input in New IATA Distribution Standards
By James Shillinglaw
June 27, 2012 1:23 PM
The World Travel Agents Associations Alliance (WTAAA) has sent a letter to Aleks Popovich, senior vice president of industry distribution and financial services at the International Air Transport Association (IATA), requesting that IATA seek regulatory review of its new “standards-setting” initiative on airline distribution. That policy could rather dramatically sffect travel agents’ ability to book airline tickets through traditional global distribution systems.
IATA’s initiative, which was announced at the airline group’s conference in Beijing earlier this month, is known as the New Distribution Capability (NDC). WTAAA is asking IATA to include the travel agency distribution channel on all related committees and task forces involving the NDC.
“IATA has the unique challenge of developing a standard that that will not be seen by regulators as having the potential to skew the competitive process,” said WTAAA Chair Peter Barlow. “We urge IATA to have its newly announced initiative reviewed by regulatory agencies to ensure the initiative is designed to produce pro-competitive standards that will benefit the entire distribution system, not just IATA’s airline members.”
Barlow pointed out that the travel agency distribution system sells nearly 60 percent of global air tickets. “Therefore, it’s imperative that our voices be heard,” he said. “Further, as the global association whose members represent more than 70 percent of all agency issued tickets worldwide, it’s appropriate that WTAAA have a seat at the table.”
WTAAA has invited Popovich to speak with its members at its annual general assembly Sept. 10-12, 2012 in Washington, D.C. WTAAA members include the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA), Association of South African Travel Agents (ASATA), Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA), Brazilian Association of Travel Agencies (ABAV), European Travel Agents' and Tour Operators' Associations (ECTAA), Travel Agents' Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) and Travel Agency Federation of India (TAFI).