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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is an international industry trade group of airlines headquartered in Montrealmarker, Quebecmarker, Canadamarker, where the International Civil Aviation Organizationmarker is also headquartered. IATA's mission is to represent, lead, and serve the airline industry. IATA represents some 230 airlines comprising 93% of scheduled international air traffic. The Director General and Chief Executive Officer is Giovanni Bisignani.Currently, IATA is present in over 150 countries covered through 101 offices around the globe.


IATA was formed in April 1945, in Havanamarker, Cubamarker. It is the successor to the International Air Traffic Association, founded in The Haguemarker in 1919, the year of the world's first international scheduled services. At its founding, IATA had 57 members from 31 nations, mostly in Europe and North America. Today it has about 230 members from more than 140 nations in every part of the world.


IATA’s stated mission is to represent, lead and serve the airline industry.

Price setting

One of its core functions is to act as a price setting body for international airfare.In an arrangement going back to 1944, international fare prices have been set through bilateral governmental agreements rather through market mechanisms.Airlines have been granted a special exemption by each of the main regulatory authorities in the world to consult prices with each other through this body.Originally both domestic and international aviation were highly regulated by IATA. Since 1978 in US and later in Europe, domestic deregulation highlighted the benefits of open markets to consumers in terms of lower fares and companies in terms of more efficient networks. This led to the formation of bilateral "open skies" agreements that weakened IATA's price fixing role. Negotiations are underway since 2003 to create a completely deregulated aviation market covering European and US airspace.

In recent years the organisation has been accused of acting as a cartel, and many low cost carriers are not full IATA members. The European Union's competition authorities are currently investigating the IATA. In 2005, Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for Competition, made a proposal to lift the exception to consult prices. In July 2006, the United States Department of Transportation also proposed to withdraw antitrust immunity. IATA teamed with SITA for an electronic ticketing solution.

For fare calculations IATA has divided the world in three regions:
  1. South, Central and North America.
  2. Europe, Middle East and Africa. IATA Europe includes the geographical Europe and Turkeymarker, Israelmarker, Moroccomarker, Algeriamarker and Tunisiamarker.
  3. Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the islands of the Pacific Ocean.

Other activities

IATA assigns 3-letter IATA Airport Codes and 2-letter IATA airline designators, which are commonly used worldwide. ICAOmarker also assigns airport and airline codes. For Rail&Fly systems, IATA also assigns IATA train station codes. For delay codes, IATA assigns IATA Delay Codes.

IATA is pivotal in the worldwide accreditation of travel agents with exception of the U.S.marker, where this is done by the Airlines Reporting Corporation. Permission to sell airline tickets from the participating carriers is achieved through national member organisations. Over 80% of airlines' sales come from IATA accredited agents.

IATA administrates worldwide the Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) and Cargo Accounts Settlement Systems (CASS) that serve as a facilitator of the sales, reporting and remittance of accredited travel and cargo agencies. Both settlement programmes are ruled by standards and resolutions.

IATA regulates the shipping of dangerous goods and publishes the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations manual, a globally accepted field source reference for airlines' shipping of hazardous materials.

IATA coordinates the Scheduling process which govern the allocation and exchange of slots at congested airports worldwide, applying fair, transparent and non-discriminatory principles. In consultation with the airline and airport coordinator communities, IATA manages and publishes the industry standards in the Worldwide Scheduling Guidelines (WSG) intended to provide guidance on managing the allocation of slots at airports.

IATA maintains the Timatic database containing cross border passenger documentation requirements. It is used by airlines to determine whether a passenger can be carried, as well as by airlines and travel agents to provide this information to travellers at the time of booking.

IATA publishes standards for use in the airline industry. The Bar Coded Boarding Pass (BCBP) standard defines the 2-Dimensional (2D) bar code printed on paper boarding passes or sent to mobiles phones for electronic boarding passes.

IATA publishes the IATA Rates of Exchange (IROE) four times per year, used with the Neutral Unit of Construction (NUC) fare currency-neutral construction system that superseded the older Fare Construction Unit (FCU) system in 1989.

In 2004, IATA launched Simplifying the Business - a set of five initiatives which it says will save the industry US$6.5 billion every year. These projects are BCBP, IATA e-freight, CUSS (common use self-service), Baggage Improvement Programme (BIP) and the Fast Travel Programme.

In 2003, the IATA Safety Operational Audit (IOSA) was launched with the aim to serve as a standard and worldwide recognized certification of airlines' operational management. The IOSA certification has now become an mandatory requisite for all IATA member airlines.

IATA is member of the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG).


  2. US DOT Antitrust Immunity
  3. SITA Press Release on eTicketing

See also

External links

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