Actually, the travel agencies expected support from their umbrella organization IATA, but now the agencies are apparently being put under further pressure. The aviation association is currently examining whether the amount of the bank guarantees or sureties is still appropriate and whether the travel agency's liquidity is sufficient.
Agencies that have a full IATA license are allowed to issue tickets themselves in the name of the respective airline. Billing takes place, among other things, via the so-called BSP system of IATA. In order not to have a “black sheep” as a partner, a fully licensed travel agency must have sufficient financial resources, bank guarantees and so on. According to a report by the tourism portal FVW you now take a closer look and check the partners.
This comes at an extremely inopportune time, because many agencies have come under pressure due to the corona crisis. It is well known that many travel agencies are struggling to survive due to a lack of new bookings and demand. In Austria, the industry also sent an open letter to the government, because it can be assumed that many companies will not survive the crisis.
According to the media report, however, the IATA should demand higher guarantees in numerous cases, because otherwise there is a risk of expulsion from the BSP and, in extreme cases, even the withdrawal of the agency license. However, this poses major problems for travel agencies, because many credit institutions and insurers are particularly reluctant to issue guarantees and loans to the travel industry. The consequence of this is that it becomes a real “Mission Impossible” for agencies, but also for smaller tour operators: The banks refuse to enter into higher guarantees because the travel agency's liquidity is too weak. And why is it so weak? Because Corona has dropped sales into the basement.
Those affected particularly sharply criticize the FVW for the fact that the IATA is based on the sales figures of the previous year regardless of the crisis. Since record sales were generated at the time, liquidity and liabilities must be increased. However, Corona has changed everything and in many travel agencies the reserves are slowly coming to an end. Therefore, some agency owners feel not only let down by their professional association IATA, but also under additional pressure, because they have completely hidden the developments this year from the agencies. It would not even come close to the fact that the sales of 2021 or 2018 can be achieved in 2019. If the IATA remains tough, however, many agencies could throw in the towel, and by necessity.