Allan Wolman, ceo of XL Rosebank Travel, send this letter to Travel News.
Yet again, the dg and ceo of Iata, Alexandre de Juniac, has painted an extremely bleak picture of the airline industry, highlighting its slow recovery. The cost to the airlines (US$77bn for the second half of this year, along with an average cost of $5-$6bn per month going forward), is indeed staggering.
Some airlines have had government assistance and more is probably in the pipeline, alongside measures by airlines to reduce costs. Iata’s concerns are projected to continue well into next year and De Juniac once again calls for government support for the airline industry. He says: “The impact has spread across the entire travel value chain, including our airport and air navigation infrastructure partners who are dependent on pre-crisis levels of traffic to sustain their operations.” Note the sectors mentioned. Note that the travel agent doesn’t even get a mention. The sustainability of our community is of no concern to the ceo’s organisation.
So, while the airline sector calls for assistance, it gives no quarter to its ‘partners’. Iata’s unrealistic demands upon agents, to provide financial guarantees and continue with an antiquated and imbalanced business model, surely tell us that his organisation has not even a modicum of sympathy or consideration for his ‘travel agent partners’. It’s business as usual!
Airlines and other value chain units are seeking relief (and no doubt Iata is giving every support in the form of allowing airlines to abuse their own resolutions by withholding refunds), but we agents are still being held to ransom.
Not only do we still have to provide guarantees, but Iata is rewriting the rules for a more draconian remittance procedure. And then, to add insult to injury, we are given tight time-limits to provide the financial guarantees, failing which we will be in contravention of Iata resolutions and risk our Iata accreditation.
What does this tell us about the future of our businesses? Those who provide THE vital link to a sizeable proportion of business to the airlines? Given that we were handed the hot coals to placate our clients when the airlines had no cash to fulfil their obligations? Slack is allowed to one sector, stringent adherence is applied to another. Double standards exemplified!