AFTA View – April 2014

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Jason WestburyAction on ADMs achieved by agent-IATA
consultation on global stage

By Jay Westbury, chief executive Australian Federation
of Travel Agents


THE travel industry is truly global and this becomes very evident each time I take part in the global discussions with IATA and the World Travel Agents Association Alliance (WTAAA).

The WTAAA has over the past six years firmly entrenched its status in the global conversation about all matters to do with the travel industry and travel agents.

Alongside AFTA, the WTAAA currently has membership from 32 countries in Europe, via the European Travel Agents & Tour Operators Associations (ECTAA) plus the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), Association of Canadian Travel Agents (ACTA), Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI), Association of South African Travel Agents (ASATA), Association of Brazilian Travel Agents (ABAV), Travel Agents Association New Zealand (TAANZ) and AFTA. That represents more than 70 per cent of global travel agency turnover.

Recently, WTAAA held a meeting in Asia and I hope that in the not too distant future the WTAAA will be welcoming a range of Asian countries to the membership.

Of interest during these discussions was the enormous interest in the way Australia is approaching a voluntary self-regulatory environment for travel agents. It was well received by our Asian neighbours with some countries considering take the exact same approach into the future.

As for the IATA global discussion, the Passenger Agency Global Joint Council recently met in Genève at the IATA HQ.

An agenda item of particular note for IATA-accredited agents was the move from June 1, 2014 to mandatory use of the BSPlink for all ADM processing.

This means that airlines will be forced to use the BSPlink system to issue, process and manage ADMs.

As one of the most controversial issues within the IATA program ADMs appear on almost all global meeting agendas and it was pleasing to see that the IATA consultative process has brought about this global change.

At least this means that agents will have some standard format on which they can rely when receiving ADMs.

As for using ADMs for “inappropriate purposes”, it does appear that this issue has reduced significantly in Australia and that airlines are using the ADM for what it was intended for. That is, as IATA Resolution 850m states, “ADMs are a legitimate accounting tool for use by all BSP airlines to collect amounts or make adjustments to agent transactions in respect of the issuance and use of Standard Traffic Documents issued by the agent”. I hope this is the case for your business if you are an IATA agent.

Of further interest at a global level is the transition by IATA to the five regional hubs, removing the functional aspects of the agency program from each country and placing these processes within a hub.

The hub for Australia is Singapore and while I have reports from a few Australian agents of the odd problem, lend a thought for your global colleagues who are dealing with all sorts of challenges in other parts of the world.

IATA has its challenges and I am pleased to report that the agency community is well represented at a global level. WTAAA continues to add value for Australian agents.

Jay Westbury’s AFTA View column appears monthly.