FAGSA frustrated by airline silence

Anti-trust laws are supposed toprevent customers from being manipulatedby collaboration betweensuppliers, but in the airline industry itschief effect seems to be creating a wallof silence on important topics. Such at least seems to be the experienceof FAGSA, the Federation ofGeneral Sales Agents, which has seen itsefforts on the topic of bank guaranteesand commission on surcharges, […]


Anti-trust laws are supposed toprevent customers from being manipulatedby collaboration betweensuppliers, but in the airline industry itschief effect seems to be creating a wallof silence on important topics.

Such at least seems to be the experienceof FAGSA, the Federation ofGeneral Sales Agents, which has seen itsefforts on the topic of bank guaranteesand commission on surcharges, blockedby airline fears of anti-trust prosecution,following the high profile investigationsby the EU and US authorities launchedin February 2006.

Last May, for example, it got agreementunder IATA’s European Air CargoProgramme that GSAs that settledthrough CASS would not need to putup bank guarantees. It was hoping toextend this worldwide by amendingIATA resolution 871 at the IATA CargoTariff meeting in Kuala Lumpur lastNovember.

But that meeting was cancelled dueto airline fears about being prosecutedfor price fixing, and so Glen Shires,FAGSA general secretary, is now pinninghis hopes on the IATA meetingin Mexico on 6-8 March.

"We have an IATA lawyer from Montrealthat has said the change would beeasy to make, but it remains to be seenwhat happens," he says. "The industrywould benefit a lot if we could get thismeasure through. At the moment, byhaving to go to finance companies forguarantees, GSAs are paying a lot of money in interest that is going out of the industry. We are saying: Let’s keep this money within the industry."