At the Heart of the Airline Industry
Interline relationships are a vital enabler of the travel industry providing traffic for airlines and connectivity for passengers, while allowing one airline to sell to a customer services provided by another airline, such as itineraries that they would otherwise not be able to serve alone.
Today's interline environment is complex, presents limits and is hard to reach for other players that are non-IATA Members. At the direction of the IATA Board of Governors, IATA member airlines are currently exploring opportunities to reinvigorate the IATA multi-lateral interline framework.
The Journey of Interlining
The IATA Interline framework originated as international markets were liberalized and competition increased. Since then multilateral interline continued to be important, but has evolved. Interline now occurs more within closer commercial arrangements such as codeshare agreements, joint ventures (JVs) and alliance groupings.
Today, IATA interline framework relies on IATA standards to support common processes around scheduling, reservations, ticketing, pricing, baggage, departure control, irregular operations, interline billing and settlement.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has led to most airlines suspending scheduled passenger operations so new interline relationships may be a key enabler of industry recovery.
- Important updates on Interline Standards: Multilateral Interline Framework and New Retailer-Supplier Framework
This webinar provided an overview on the main changes in the interline standards that will become effective 1 June 2021, including the new Standard Retailer Supplier Interline Agreement (SRSIA) Recommended Practice and how this new framework and standards aim to support airlines in establishing new interline partnerships with new types of partners.
Please also check our FAQs (pdf) for more information.
- Changes to Multilateral Interline Traffic Agreement (MITA)
This webinar provided an overview on the main changes in the interline standards that will become effective 1 June 2021, and the new interline contact features now available the IATA MITA Customer Portal.
Please also check our FAQs (pdf) for more information.
- New Partnerships, New Partners, New Opportunities!
New interline partnerships are a key enabler of recovery! Our members have been working on improving the multilateral interline framework as new partnerships should be quicker and simpler to establish. System providers are also innovating in this space. During this webinar they have presented how their solutions facilitate seamless contact between partners. Recordings (pdf) are available.
- Reinvigoration of the Multilateral Interline Framework
This webinar provided an overview on the current interline framework, tools available to support interline as well as the work that is underway with member airlines to simplify the formation of new interline partnerships. Recordings (pdf) are available.
Please also check our FAQs list (pdf) to get more insights.
Current Interline Framework
IATA interline framework facilitates a standard model of interline that is used between IATA member airlines and as well by other airlines.
IATA aims to educate throughout this document on the tools already available today to enable industry restart through multilateral interlining.
- IATA Multilateral Interline Traffic Agreement (MITA)
MITA standard is a single interline agreement which establishes the legal framework and describes responsibilities, liability provisions and general procedural obligations under which IATA and non-IATA member airlines may concur to create partnership agreements. MITA will be further enhanced to enable faster and seamless engagement between parties.
- IATA Prorate Agency administers other multilateral agreements
Airlines engaged in the interlining of passengers and cargo depend on settlement agreements to assist in the determination of each airline's revenue. These agreements are referred to as the Multilateral Prorate Agreement-Passenger (MPA-P) and the Multilateral Prorate Agreement-Cargo (MPA-C). More about Prorate Manuals
Transition pathways and alternative interline models
Different interline models are emerging and one of these models is often referred to as Virtual Interline. When exploring it, airlines may wish to ensure that commercial agreements and agreed processes are in place and the Virtual Interline Considerations (pdf) paper for airline aims to highlight some of these matters.
Future of Interline
The IATA Distribution Advisory Council has initiated a work package to explore changes to the current interline framework. This will involve explorations into the legal, financial, distribution and operational frameworks that support partnerships within the industry. More information on the status of the discussions is available on IATA Future of Interline.
Industry standards simplify common processes, reduce cost and complexity
Resolution changes and new Recommended Practices
At the direction of the IATA Board of Governors, IATA member airlines are exploring opportunities to reinvigorate the IATA multilateral interline framework which may be key for industry restart as it creates opportunities to pursue new and more varied relationships to support networks and maintain connectivity. All these related interline activities are driven by the IATA Interline Group under the Plan Standards Board.
Considerations for airlines in case of Interline
Disruption situations can be an opportunity for airlines to provide an overall excellent customer experience. The Guidance paper on Irregular Operations (IROPs) (pdf.) for airlines talks about clear and effective processes in place to ensure these situations are handled smoothly to minimize customer distress and inconveniences.
Addressing and establishing smooth baggage processes when forming new interline partnerships might be an extensive and challenging task. The Guidance paper on Baggage Standards for Interlining (pdf) details the key aspects airlines should consider with their new interline partners and the standard processes to support these discussions.
In case you have questions or you would like to be part of these initiatives contact us.
The Intermodal Working Group
Stands under the Interline Group and has as a mandate to:
- Deal with matters concerning all activities relating to facilitating intermodal passenger processes including the associated business requirements.
- Review and endorse proposals to create or amend standards governing these processes. Ensure that proposals align with new or existing standards and that requirements and business flows are documented.
- Liaise with other process owning groups under any Conference, and advisory groups under Industry Committees (such as Offer, Order, Integration and Ticketing groups) as required.
- Maintain a work plan and report regularly to Interline Group and Plan Standard Board.
To view and/or participate in the activities under the Intermodal Group, please access the SSW Intermodal Working Group.