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GEBTA drops IATA complaint

The Guild of European Business Travel Agents (GEBTA) has dropped its anti-trust complaint to the EC against the International Air Transport Association (IATA)

The move, predicted by BTE in October, was made after GEBTA and its fellow agency association, ECTAA, said it wished to continue talks with IATA and its members.

The complaint was lodged in October 2002 and alleged that IATA, the airline cartel, was breaking EC competition rules.

The EC confirmed in June 2003 that IATA's Passenger Agency Programme did infringe some   
anti-trust rules but urged the two sides to talk under the guidance of its director general Competition.

IATA, after its Passenger Agency Conference in Singapore in June, 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.

The new rules mainly came into force on January 1, 2006.

GEBTA and ECTAA plan to continue talks with IATA to "finalise" agreement on outstanding issues.

These include the centralisation of the Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP), updating security standards, improving agents' rights under the Passenger Sales Agency Programme and Agreement, especially regarding access to fares as well as "fair compensation" for services rendered.

The two also want IATA to modernise it Passenger Agency Programme.