ATIA calls for reform of Bilateral Air Service Agreements

The Australian Travel Industry Association (ATIA) has advocated for urgent reform of the country’s Bilateral Air Service Agreements during a Senate Committee Inquiry in Sydney today.

Chief Executive Officer Dean Long appeared before the senate to address the critical flaws in the existing system, arguing that all stakeholders, not just airlines, should have a voice when it comes to determining supply and demand.

He said the inquiry presents a “pivotal opportunity to address the issues that have long plagued Australia’s aviation industry and air ticket distribution landscape, with ATIA taking the lead in this fight for our members and the broader travel industry”.

“The current system determining which airlines can operate in and out of Australia was established in 1944. This system was designed to protect the interests of national carriers which at that stage were largely government owned. While times have changed, the system has not.

“Despite ATIA’s members selling a staggering 10 million tickets, amounting to a total value of $14 billion over the past 12 months until August, the Department of Transport fails to consider their perspective when deciding which bilateral aviation agreements to approve.

“There is a critical and compelling need to redefine national interest in decision-making. ATIA’s submission highlights the critical flaws in the existing system where decisions are made without a comprehensive understanding of their impact on passengers,” Long argued, adding the submission also underscores the negative effects of the New Distribution Capability (NDC) on Australian consumers.

“We are seeing the current application of NDC translate into limited choices for Australian consumers and businesses, increased airfares, and a further reduction in competition within the air ticket distribution market.”

“We have a good relationship with our airline partners and we look forward to working further with them on NDC’s adoption to address these issues for Australian consumers and the agents who support them,” he concluded.

A copy of ATIA’s submission can be viewed here.

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