|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2012)|
|International Air Transport Association|
|Formation||April 19, 1945 Havana, Cuba,|
|Type||international trade association|
|Purpose/focus||represent, lead, and serve airline industry|
|Headquarters||800 Place Victoria (rue Gauvin), Montreal, Canada|
|Membership||240 airlines (2011)|
|DG and CEO||Tony Tyler|
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is an international industry trade group of airlines headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where the International Civil Aviation Organization is also headquartered. The executive offices are at the Geneva Airport in Switzerland.
IATA's mission is to represent, lead, and serve the airline industry. IATA represents some 240 airlines comprising 84% of scheduled international air traffic. The Director General and Chief Executive Officer is Tony Tyler. Currently, IATA is present in over 150 countries covered through 101 offices around the globe.
IATA was formed on 19 April 1945, in Havana, Cuba. It is the successor to the International Air Traffic Association, founded in The Hague in 1919, the year of the world's first international scheduled services. At its founding, IATA had 57 members from 31 nations, mostly in Europe and North America. Today it has about 243 members (as of April 2012) from more than 126 nations in every part of the world.
IATAs stated mission is to represent, lead and serve the airline industry. All the Airline rules and regulations are defined by IATA. The main aim of IATA is to provide safe and secure transportation to its passengers.
One of its core functions was to act as a price setting body for international airfare. In an arrangement going back to 1944, international fare prices have been set through bilateral governmental agreements rather than through market mechanisms. Airlines had been granted a special exemption by each of the main regulatory authorities in the world to consult prices with each other through this body.
Originally both domestic and international aviation were highly regulated by IATA. Since 1978 in US and later in Europe, domestic deregulation highlighted the benefits of open markets to consumers in terms of lower fares and companies in terms of more efficient networks. This led to the formation of bilateral "open skies" agreements that weakened IATA's price fixing role. Negotiations are underway since 2003 to create a completely deregulated aviation market covering European and US airspace. 
In recent years the organisation has been accused of acting as a cartel, and many low cost carriers are not full IATA members. The European Union's competition authorities are currently investigating the IATA. In 2005, Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for Competition, made a proposal to lift the exception to consult prices. In July 2006, the United States Department of Transportation also proposed to withdraw antitrust immunity. IATA teamed with SITA for an electronic ticketing solution.
The effect of the antitrust investigations has been that 'IATA fares' have been withdrawn  -
IATA has responded to the demise of the IATA fares by introducing a new fareclass - Flexfares . However, these new fares are not replacement of the earlier full IATA fare, and a number of airlines (including Lufthansa ) are not participating in this.
For fare calculations IATA has divided the world in three regions:
IATA assigns three-letter and two-letter codes to airports and airlines, respectively, which are commonly used worldwide. ICAO also assigns airport and airline codes. For Rail&Fly systems, IATA also assigns IATA train station codes. For delay codes, IATA assigns IATA Delay Codes.
IATA is pivotal in the worldwide accreditation of travel agents. In the U.S., agents who wish to sell airline tickets must also achieve accreditation with the Airlines Reporting Corporation. Over 80% of airlines' sales come from IATA accredited agents. The IATA / IATAN ID Card is a globally recognized industry credential for travel professionals.
IATA administrates worldwide the Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) and Cargo Accounts Settlement Systems (CASS) that serve as a facilitator of the sales, reporting and remittance of accredited travel and cargo agencies. Both settlement programmes are ruled by standards and resolutions.
IATA regulates the shipping of dangerous goods and publishes the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations manual (DGR) yearly, a globally accepted (de facto) field source reference for airlines' shipping of hazardous materials.
IATA coordinates the Scheduling process which governs the allocation and exchange of slots at congested airports worldwide, applying fair, transparent and non-discriminatory principles. In consultation with the airline and airport coordinator communities, IATA manages and publishes the industry standards in the Worldwide Scheduling Guidelines (WSG) intended to provide guidance on managing the allocation of slots at airports.
IATA maintains the Timatic database containing cross border passenger documentation requirements. It is used by airlines to determine whether a passenger can be carried, as well as by airlines and travel agents to provide this information to travelers at the time of booking.
IATA publishes standards for use in the airline industry. The Bar Coded Boarding Pass (BCBP) standard defines the 2-dimensional (2D) bar code printed on paper boarding passes or sent to mobiles phones as electronic boarding passes. The Electronic Miscellaneous Document (EMD) defines a standard document to account airlines sales and track usage of charges.
IATA publishes the IATA Rates of Exchange (IROE) four times per year, used with the Neutral Unit of Construction (NUC) fare currency-neutral construction system that superseded the older Fare Construction Unit (FCU) system in 1989.
In 2004, IATA launched Simplifying the Business - a set of five initiatives which it says will save the industry US$6.5 billion every year. These projects are BCBP, IATA e-freight, CUSS (common use self-service), Baggage Improvement Programme (BIP) and the Fast Travel Programme.
In 2003, the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) was launched with the aim to serve as a standard and worldwide recognized certification of airlines' operational management. The IOSA certification has now become a mandatory requisite for all IATA member airlines.
In 2011, the election of James Hogan, the serving CEO of Etihad, to IATA's board was criticized by CEOs of regional carriers Qatar Airways and Emirates. The election was considered indicative of IATA's prevailing image as an entity run by the very few" without due consultation from participants.