The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is an international trade association of the world’s airlines. Founded in 1945, its mission is to promote safe, reliable, economically viable and efficient air transport for the benefit of its member airlines and the global travelling public. With over 290 member airlines from around the world and more than 1,500 offices in 219 countries, IATA represents the interests of a global air transport industry that carries 2.3 billion passengers and 62 million tons of freight annually. IATA works hard to ensure that the air transport industry meets the demands of an ever-changing international business climate, while promoting safe, reliable and cost effective air transport services.
At its core, IATA works to promote air transport by ensuring that member airlines are able to successfully compete in the global marketplace. In order to do so, IATA works to develop, implement and monitor IATA standards, staff education and industry best practices. As a result, the organization has been instrumental in improving the efficiency, safety and sustainability of global air transport.
To further its core goal, IATA negotiates agreements and codes with international industry partners, allowing for closer cooperation within the industry and greater consumer choice. IATA also provides leadership and guidance at the international level on air transport regulatory and safety matters. Through IATA’s wide-reaching and influential membership, it helps to bring uniformity to the global air transport industry, resulting in improved safety, efficiency and cost savings.
In addition to its core activities, IATA oversees a number of programs that support its mission of promoting safe and efficient air transport. For example, IATA works in partnership with the United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) in order to provide coordinated and timely humanitarian assistance by transporting aid and essential supplies worldwide. IATA’s Airport Carbon Accreditation program, meanwhile, works to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint, while its Airport Handling Manual provides guidelines for ground handling of aircraft to ensure a safe operating environment.
The IATA Timatic system is an online database of travel document requirements used by the aviation industry to verify passport and visa information. The organization also provides a framework for the facilitation of air cargo shipments via its standardised IATA Cargo Agency Agreement and IATA Forwarders Certificate. Finally, its travel trade program provides agents with exclusive discounts from IATA-affiliated hotels, Car Rental companies and other travel services.
For travellers, IATA offers a number of important benefits. For instance, its Common Ground Program is a standard marketing agreement between IATA and member airlines, establishing rules for passenger interlining and codesharing, which allows customers to travel on multiple airlines with one ticket. The organization also collects and provides vital industry data, including industry financial performance analysis and travel trends, to help travellers make more informed decisions.
In summary, the International Air Transport Association is a powerful international trade organization whose mission is to promote safe, reliable and cost effective air transport services. Through its wide-reaching membership and extensive program offerings, IATA works to improve the efficiency, safety and sustainability of global air transport, while providing valuable benefits to the travelling public.