Last Updated: 12 Oct, 2020

IATA Accreditation For Travel Business

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Travel and tourism are one of the largest industries across the world. The rising middle class has created a lot of demand for travel and tourism products making the travel industry – one of the fast-growing industries in India. Becoming a travel agent is a very good option for many Entrepreneurs and having IATA registration can boost the revenue of the business. In this article, we mainly look at the process of becoming an IATA Travel Agent and IATA Registration.

IATA software (international air transport association) is the global trade association bringing together approximately 270 airlines, including the world’s largest. UFTAA, (universal federation of travel agent’s association) is the giant world body representing travel agents. IATA ATDI (Aviation training and development institute) directs the IATA / UFTAA international travel and tourism training program. IATA accreditation is a seal of acceptance recognized worldwide. We are executed to working with all travel agencies to improve customer service and choice.

What Is IATA ?


IATA stands for the International Air Transport Association and is the official trade organization for the world’s airlines (more than 85 participating nations). For air carriers, IATA provides a polled resource for scheduling, traffic and routes, standardizing services and the creation of a worldwide public service for the air industry.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the trade association for the world’s airlines, representing some 290 airlines or 82% of total air traffic. A guiding concept of IATA’s structure is “Global Development, Regional Delivery”, where the Head Office divisions drive the development of global standards, systems and advocacy positions, while the regional and country offices are responsible for implementation.

Importance Of IATA Accredited Travel Agent




All IATA certified agents are reliable and meet the minimum security and financial considerations required by the accrediting agency. This means that travel agents with IATA accreditation can be trusted to provide above and beyond industry standards.

IATA agents are authorized to access various data resources for their customers. IATA agents are the industry-trusted source to help prepare and document all parts of a tour, so the tour is a success. The agents have immediate access to IATA’s system for invoicing and payments. By using the IATA clearing house, the claims transaction process can be simple and fast.

IATA accreditation is globally recognized. Vendors and customers who work with an IATA travel agent know that agent meets the industry standard for trust and security.

Becoming An IATA Travel Agent


To start a travel agency business, the following registrations would be required;

  • Business registration
  • Private Limited Company; or
  • Limited Liability Partnership; or
  • One Person Company;
  • GST registration

IATA registration is not a mandatory registration for becoming a travel agent. However, having an IATA registration can show potential customers and vendors that the business is an accredited travel agency – thereby boosting revenue and providing credibility. 

Travel Agent Accreditation Benefits:

  • Access to IATA airline members with a single Sales Agency Agreement which authorizes the sale of international and/or domestic tickets
  • Access to IATA’s Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP), an efficient interface for invoicing and payment between the agent, airlines and transport providers
  • Unique identification throughout the global travel industry with the “IATA Numeric Code”
  • Use of the "IATA Accredited Agent" logo providing visibility and credibility on premises and website
  • Professional recognition - eligible agency employees can apply for the IATA/IATAN ID Card - giving access to travel suppliers' concessionary offers
  • Standardized procedures to ensure fair dealings with the airlines

What IATA Can Give Travel Businesses?




Airfare :

A select number of airlines offer airfare discounts to qualified travel professionals. Many of these accept the IATA/IATAN card as proof of eligibility. These can be found on the IATAN website here, although details regarding these rates should be confirmed directly with the airlines.

Car rentals :

Before you book your car rentals, check to see if they offer a deal for IATA/IATAN cardholders. Car rental discounts typically range from 15-20% off. These can be found through the Agent Experience portal on the IATAN website.

Entertainment :

City tour passes, museums, aquariums, and other tourist attractions are often available at discounted agent rates. You can also find these through the Agent Experience portal.

Hotels :

Some of the greatest travel deals you will receive through your IATA card are for hotels and resorts. Many of the popular hotel brands will require you to complete a brief training tutorial to learn about their properties and brand. Don’t let that deter you, however! Most of these tutorials actually provide valuable information and hotel savings that are well worth the time!

Full IATA Accreditation


While applying for becoming an IATA Accredited Agent, the following four criteria are evaluated:

  1. Financial record and standing Agent
  2. Staff qualifications
  3. Identification and accessibility of premises
  4. Security and procedures

The financial record and financial standing of the applicant plays a major part in the IATA accreditation process. The criteria for the financial evaluation of IATA registration application is as follows (All financial information used in the financial criteria will be extracted from the Agent’s Audited Accounts):

  • There must be positive Net Equity.
  • Net Equity divided by long-term debt and other long-term liabilities must be greater than 0.5.
  • EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxation, Depreciation, Amortisation and extraordinary items) must be positive except in exceptional circumstances.
  • The EBITDA must exceed the interest payable by a factor of a minimum of two and ideally three.
  • Adjusted Current Assets must exceed Current Liabilities.

Further, all Agents must provide financial security during the first two years as an Agent. An Agent will not be accredited or will not continue to be accredited until any Financial Security required to be provided to IATA has been received by IATA and confirmed to IATA by way of written confirmation received directly from the third party supporting the Financial Security that the Financial Security was issued and is valid. All travel agents must provide Financial Security with a minimum amount of USD 50,000 to be accredited.

Travel Industry Designator Services (TIDS) – Booking Without Flight Ticketing




The Travel Industry Designator Service (TIDS) is an IATA programme which provides a unique identification code for travel agents and sales intermediaries such as meeting planners, event organizers who are not currently IATA-Accredited Agents.

The TIDS code is designed especially for travel agents that, despite not ticketing, do make reservations and bookings for their clients with travel industry suppliers such as hotels, car hire, rail, ferries, airlines, conferences/events etc.

TIDS speeds up and simplifies reservations processing, as it identifies you as the booking source from the very first reservation. This unique number ensures proper identification of the agent and their bookings in electronic reservation systems worldwide with a standard numeric code.

Equally the unique TIDS identification allocated to an agency's place of business reduces the risk of duplication of reservation numbers, avoids the consequences of invalid or rejected bookings and secures any commercial arrangements with industry suppliers.

If you have several agency locations, they may all use the same TIDS Code. However, if you wish to be able to differentiate between locations or different offices, then you may apply for additional TIDS Codes. One Application Form should be completed for each branch location. Once you become a TIDS code holder, your staff may apply for an industry ID Card.

As a travel and tourism supplier, you may encounter difficulties in identifying booking sources when dealing with non-IATA agents. This may lead to the rejection of reservations or invalid bookings. TIDS precisely addresses this problem with a unique number allocated to an agency. It therefore eliminates the risk of reservation number duplication or the consequences of invalid or rejected bookings. TIDS has become the standard identification for non-IATA agents. Major airlines, hotels, car rental companies all over the world now require that all non-IATA agents register for TIDS, or the Non-ticketing Program, its equivalent in the USA.


  • Tally reservations
  • Track commissions
  • Identify target markets to design marketing programmes
  • Distribute commissions to registered travel agents
  • Streamline sales reporting for valuable marketing intelligence

IATAN – Full Package For US-Based Travel Businesses Only




IATAN (ticketing and non-ticketing) is essentially a U.S.-branded version of IATA. When you see an ‘N’ in IATA, think US-based agencies. At the end of the day, IATAN comes wrapped up in different package than IATA, but the contents are essentially the same. Same global recognition, same-looking accreditation numbers, same services. In fact, it's so similar that when it comes to travel agency accreditation numbers, many US agents will use IATA and IATAN interchangeably.

How Non-IATA Travel Agents Operate?




As the name recommends, non-IATA/independent travel agents are agents who are not accredited by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). IATA is considered to be one of the most primary resources for a travel agent as most airline bookings are done through the IATA portal.

Non-IATA travel agents have had a crucial impact on the travel business, and their numbers have constantly grown over the years. In the ancient sense, a non-IATA travel agency basically functions by collecting orders, sending the booking to IATA travel agencies, and forwarding the booked tickets to the customer.

With the rise in the number of non-IATA travel agents around the world, consolidators/host agencies and larger travel agencies are placing a lot of stress on getting more and more non-IATA travel agents under their umbrella.


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