Airline association Iata’s move to 14-day payments for accredited agents “will cause undue financial pressure on successful business” the Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) has warned.

The GTMC said it had “argued vehemently” against the change to Iata’s monthly payment model.

Iata’s UK Agency Programme Joint Council (APJC) approved the change yesterday following a directive from Iata’s financial committee and board.

Wait said: “The only options offered were seven-day or 14-day remittance. Very reluctantly, 14-day remittance had to be accepted.”

He added: “The GTMC questions the value of a process that was meant to be consultative.

“The GTMC is strongly against airlines making it harder for business travel agents, particularly small and medium-sized companies, to work with them.”

Wait pointed out: “It is common practise in the UK to have 30, 45 or even 60 day payment terms. Fourteen day remittance will cause undue financial pressure on successful businesses, especially SMEs.”

He said: “We’ve urged Iata to think through its policy and to consider carefully the implications of making adjustments to billing processes that fundamentally change how a travel management company must agree contracts with its clients.

“The changes present a significant risk to many businesses and their cash flow, meaning there is a real threat to jobs.

“The GTMC fully supports the aviation sector’s drive to protect itself from defaults and from miss-selling by unprofessional agencies.

“However, we ask IATA airlines once again to build long-term business relationships with TMCs rather than penalise established and successful businesses for the malpractice of a small minority.”

Wait insisted: “GTMC member businesses will work hard to meet the required changed, if the final decision to move to twice-monthly remittance is agreed in autumn next year.”

But he said: “We remain hopeful that business common sense will prevail.”