16 October, etc.venues Monument
30 October, JW Marriott Grosvenor House
1st November 2023, etc.venues County Hall
GEBTA set to withdraw IATA complaint
The Guild of European Business Travel Agents (GEBTA) is set to withdraw its anti-trust complaint to the EC against the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The complaint was lodged three years ago and claimed the airlines' cartel was allegedly breaking EC law on competition.
GEBTA board members, meeting in Brussels last week, discussed the possibility of withdrawing the complaint following concessions earlier this year by IATA.
One told BTE: “GEBTA seems likely to give a qualified agreement to withdraw its complaint because it has been encouraged by the initial steps IATA has taken.”
IATA has made several concessions this year in what has been a long running dispute between the agents and the airlines' body.
The agents claim that IATA's rules, some of which date back 50 years, are restrictive to their trade and biased towards the airlines.
The complaint was lodged with the EC after GEBTA felt, after four years' talk, it was making no progress. Little headway was also made in subsequent talks between IATA, EC and GEBTA after the complaint was lodged.
However IATA has since introduced one change in January this year which enabled agents based in one country to issue tickets in another.
After its Passenger Agency Conference in Singapore in June, it also agreed to relax its rules over agent accreditation, agency debit memos (ADMs), the installation of safes in agency offices and the presence of qualified staff when issuing tickets.
Under the first and major change, agents would have to register in only one country to be able to operate.
BTE was told that many agents still believed there was a “long way to go” for IATA to reform its rules and that there were still major issues to be resolved.
“We need to discuss the BSP (Billing Settlement Plan) or at least make it easier and we need to reform the rules so we can buy any fare in Europe from wherever we like,” the source said.