Agents have accused international airlines trade group Iata of trying to obtain permission to use their data “by stealth” as their deadline to respond to its request looms.

Iata has written to 12,000 agents across Europe asking for their go-ahead  to use their agency details and sales data in its own products, which could be made available via third parties.

However, agents are unhappy that Iata sent a communication via BSP, the system used by agents to pay Iata airlines, instead of writing to agency bosses. If agents do not respond within 45 days, Iata says it will assume they agree to being identified – a move agents have branded “unacceptable”.

Last November, Iata was told that it was breaching Computerised Reservation Systems’ Code of Conduct by using agent data without consent.

Iata wants to use the data in its market intelligence products PaxIS and Direct Data Service.

Anne Godfrey, chief executive of the Guild of the Travel Management Companies, said: “This is not best practice in terms of communication. BSP goes to somone different in each agency – this communication should have gone to someone senior. And it is unacceptable that silence equals consent.”

Ken McLeod, corporate director at Advantage, said: ”We’re not happy about [Iata’s request] because there was not enough detail on what data they want to use and where it will be used.”

Travel Weekly was unable to obtain a response from Iata.