Miami, USA - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) hereby clarifies that the association is not in any way or form in default against travel agents, as incorrectly reported in the current edition of the LADEVI travel trade magazine.
In fact, despite the current COVID-19 crisis—which has essentially brought much of the airline industry to a halt—all IATA financial settlement systems are working without interruption, and the stability and liquidity of these are safeguarded.
In order to enter into a dialogue with the travel agent community, IATA sent an open letter from its Director General, providing an industry update on the current COVID-19 crisis. This letter referenced a figure of US$35 billion in outstanding airline refunds. The reporting in LADEVI incorrectly implies that IATA is defaulting on this payment.
The reality is that these funds are held by the airlines and not by IATA, and as a consequence, IATA cannot default on these payments. The policy on how to handle refunds is a commercial decision which rests solely with the individual airlines, subject to local regulation.
IATA has however been working on adapting its payment systems in order to enable travel agents to accept vouchers, in such cases where airlines issue these in lieu of a cash refund.
“The reporting in LADEVI implying that IATA is defaulting on payments to travel agents could not be further from the truth. I can assure all our travel agency partners that IATA’s financial settlement systems are working normally and with all our stability and liquidity guarantees in place. It is very unfortunate that this incorrect reporting has added unnecessary stress and uncertainty into an industry which is currently experiencing the biggest crisis in its history. This is a time for all stakeholders in the travel value chain to work together, in order to be in a position to restart the industry when time comes,” said Peter Cerdá, IATA’s Regional Vice President for the Americas.
For more information, please contact:
Corporate Communications – Latin America & Caribbean
Tel: +1 – 438 - 258 3155 or +1 – 514 – 240 4746
Notes for Editors:
- IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 290 airlines comprising 82% of global air traffic.
- You can follow us at twitter.com/iata for announcements, policy positions, and other useful industry information.