IATA and AFTA at Odds

The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) says it will no longer participate in IATA meetings following the rejection of a new Passenger Service Agency Agreement by the airline association’s members.

AFTA - which represents most travel agents in Australia - is headed by chief executive Mike Hatton, who was one of the eight travel agent members on the Global Consultative Committee. The GCC had been working on a new more agent-friendly agreement for two years - only to have it turned down by the airlines at the recent IATA Passenger Agency Conference in Miami.

The organisation has suspended participation in all IATA committees and forums until the deadlock over the new commercial agreement is broken - last month’s meeting was suspended after the breakdown of talks and has not been rescheduled.

Mr Hatton said: “IATA cannot have it both ways - they cannot have us negotiate for all this time with an enormous cost in man-hours and expense, and then expect that we agents shall accept a position where everything is effectively placed in limbo and we shall also continue to participate in their various committees and forums.”

He added: “IATA has to realise that they cannot expect co-operation and participation from Australian agents until such time as these proposed reforms have been addressed and resolved to agent satisfaction.”