The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the United Bank for Africa Plc are collaborating on a new financial settlement system for airlines and travel agencies.
The new system, the New Generation of IATA Settlement Systems, according to the Area Manager, IATA South-West Africa, Dr Samson Fatokun, is an improvement on the current billing settlement plan and a programme to deliver faster, safer and more cost-effective financial settlement services and solutions to airlines and travel agents that rely on the IATA Settlement Systems.
The NewGen ISS, he stated, would also facilitate faster settlement, safer funds and a lower cost of distribution for airlines, and more personalised products and services, enhanced customer support and more cost-effective solutions for travel agents.
The Head, UBA Aviation Desk, Bode Aregbesola, said the new system was an improvement over the current BSP system which the UBA had operated for IATA for 10 years, and would have various advantages for travel agents, airlines and the bank providing a tripartite symbiotic partnership.
At a workshop and training programme on the new system, organised by the UBA for travel agents and airlines in partnership with IATA in Lagos, Aregbesola said the NewGen ISS would take effect from December 1, 2018.
He said, “The landscape has changed. Before now, what you have is a situation where the agents make payments bi-monthly to airlines. Now, with the NewGen ISS what it means is that the UBA can settle payments for the airlines on a daily basis.
“For the agents to be aware of this process, there is a need for enlightenment and that is why the bank has now partnered IATA to sponsor a workshop where the airlines, travel agents are informed of the new processes so that going forward from December 1, they would be able to participate actively in it.”
Aregbesola stated that the new dispensation would also be of immense benefit to travel agents as it would enable them to sell tickets more than they currently could.
The President, National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies, Bernard Bankole, said the partnership with UBA had been strong, and urged the bank to do more for airlines and travel agents.
“The BSP was introduced into the market 10 years ago; and now, we have a reintroduction of it on another level. This new system will address a lot of issues affecting travel agents. One of them is categorisation of travel agents, which they said was not possible, but in this new era, it is possible,” he said.