Airline association Iata has invited agents and travel management companies to report carriers using customer contact data for marketing which has been submitted following a June change in rules.

Iata made it mandatory for agents to submit passenger-contact data when booking flights from June 1.

The association now requires agents request travellers share contact details with airlines in case of disruption and that they enter the contact information with bookings.

The change has caused widespread disquiet among agents who believe Iata airlines want the customer contact details to facilitate direct sales.

But Iata senior vice-president for financial and distribution services Aleks Popovich told the UK Business Travel Association (BTA) conference in Noordwijk, near Amsterdam: “Members signed up for this resolution [on sharing customer data] only to be used for market recovery.

“If to your knowledge any Iata member breaks that [resolution], we invite you to tell Iata.”

However, a senior travel management company executive told Travel Weekly: “It’s meaningless reporting an airline once they have the passenger contact details. We are not sharing them.”

The Iata resolution states: “In the event the passenger exercises his or her right not to provide contact details it is incumbent on the agent to indicate that the passenger has declined to provide such details, and to enter the refusal in the PNR [Passenger Name Record] to limit any statutory liability.

“In such a case, the agent must actively advise the passenger that they may not receive information from the airline relating to flight cancellation or schedule changes (including delay in departure).”

The rule had been in place since 2013 but as a recommended course of action, not a requirement.

The BTA is the new name of the former Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) which was unveiled this week at the association’s conference.

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