The customer is at the heart of the decisions behind internal organizational changes at IATA, says Aleks Popovich, Senior Vice President, Customer and Business Services 

Aleksander Popovic

For 75 years, IATA’s mission has been to represent, lead and serve the global airline industry. Last year, with the guidance and approval of our Board of Governors, IATA announced a new strategy built on three activities at the core of our mission: advocacy, standards, and services.

As a result, the organization is transforming to better align ourselves internally with these activities and our strategic priorities. This is the logical evolution of a journey that we have been taking to put our customers at the heart of IATA—making doing business with IATA simple, timely, and effective, with a human touch.

One of the most exciting changes is the creation of a new IATA business unit: Customer and Business Services (CBS). 

The new business unit brings together our customer service functions currently residing within Financial and Distribution Services (FDS), including our Global Delivery Center (GDC) and Customer Service Center. Direct sales activities, account management capability, our Strategic Partnerships program and our Events oversight will also move over to CBS. 

Evolution not revolution

This will build stronger relationships with our customers and give us the capability to better understand and serve them. Bringing our customer and business service activities under the same roof in an integrated customer-centric business unit will also align our products and services with the overall strategy.

The creation of the Financial, Distribution and Data Services division reflects our alignment of IATA Business Intelligence Services oversight with existing FDS Travel Intelligence Services. In doing so, we are recognizing the vital and growing role of aviation industry data and leveraging its business value throughout the entire value chain to more effectively support our digital transformation strategic priority. 

This will enable IATA to focus on product differentiation, efficient airline processes, and the aforementioned digital transformation. These priorities are supported by industry initiatives including New Distribution Capability (NDC), ONE Order, and Dynamic Offers.

Hard work pays off

Industry Payment Services is another important element. Payment costs represent a significant and rising share of airline expenses that need to be addressed. 
Programs, such as IATA Pay, which aims to provide a lower-cost and more secure alternative for customer payment on the airline website, is one example of how we can support the industry in reining in costs using efficient airline processes and digital transformation.

Another initiative is to give airlines greater visibility into their payment costs in the third-party channel—Transparency in Payments (TIP) is doing that. 

I’m excited about these developments and believe that the changes will ensure that IATA remains true to our vision of working together to shape the future growth of a safe, secure, and sustainable air transport industry that connects and enriches our world.