FAGSA, the Federation of GeneralSales Agents, offered airlines at theIATA World Cargo Symposium inMexico in mid February a last chanceto settle the issue of commissions onsurcharges.
FAGSA president Carlo Talei FranzesiTalei addressed the conference,urging airlines to start a dialogue onthe issue, or face legal action. "I will besaying to carriers in Mexico that this isa hot issue, and it is time for them tomove on it," he told Payload Asia shortlybefore the event.
"Airlines have to decide, because time is running out. Any lawyer would say that they don’t have a case, because a surcharge must be only temporary, or it can’t be called a surcharge any more."
Past discussions with IATA havebeen blocked because of airline fearsthey would breach anti-trust legislation,but Franzesi says this does not stopindividual airlines talking to GSAs on the issue.
"With rates out of Europe close tozero, this is an issue of survival for GSAs," he says. "It is also an issue of justice. Many airlines still require bank guarantees on the surcharge money, even though they do not pay a commission, which is just not fair."
Franzesi points to the passengerside of the business, where someairlines have started paying commissionon surcharges, as evidence of thestrength of the legal case. "There are also court cases starting in countries such as Australia, so airlines are foolish if they think this issue is going to go away."
– Peter Conway