Airline association IATA has made significant concessions in two key areas of concern to agents, according to the Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC).

IATA has agreed to modify demands for changes to financial criteria for agents and to BSP (Billing and Settlement plan) payments and will present the revisions for ratification at its World Passenger Symposium next month.

The GTMC says IATA has also responded to trade concerns at plans to sell company and client data through the association’s PaxIS-DDS service.

IATA wanted tougher financial guarantees from UK agents and changes to the way they pass fare payments to airlines via BSP because of the failure rate among UK leisure agents.

The association says its airline members lose up to £8 million a year in defaults on BSP payments by UK agents.

It proposed reducing the current payment period from four weeks, threatening an impact on agents’ cash flow, increasing bond requirements and other measures.

But the IATA-trade joint body, the UK agency programme joint council, has come up with alternative proposals which IATA has accepted and will now present to its members.

GTMC chairman Ajaya Sodha, chairman of Key Travel, said: “The losses through defaults are mostly from smaller, new entrants.

“IATA will tighten the process by demanding audited accounts – previously certified accounts were accepted for small agents – and there will be a minimum bonding requirement of £25,000. Previously there was no minimum.”

He said: “We expect the new financial criteria to be rubber stamped next month and be effective from June 1.”

Sodha added: “IATA threatened to introduce a shorter payment period. That was a blunt instrument to use if it could not stem the losses by other means.”

IATA has also made concessions on the sale of PaxIS (Passenger Information Services) data. Sodha said: “IATA has agreed to changes so customers cannot be identified.

“Previously it could sell data without our knowledge. Now it can sell data, but within limited parameters. The data won’t identify individual clients or travellers.

“We have received assurances and our members have suggested they could sign up to it.”