Thursday, March 1, 2018

IATA Says it is Finally Getting the Air Mail Sorted

After a Century a Postal Freight Invoicing System is Being Introduced
Shipping News Feature
WORLDWIDE – Air mail has existed now for over a hundred years yet, despite remaining a vital form of global communication, and a sizeable contributor to the world's air freight, there has up to now never been a standardised set of tools or a platform for the invoicing and settlement of charges between airlines and postal authorities. Now however the International Air Transport Association (IATA) says it is addressing the problem with the creation of its Postal Account Settlement System (PASS).

IATA Says PASS will produce standard invoices to postal operators as well as automate invoicing and payment processes, facilitate the reconciliation process and enable online dispute resolution. The object is to overcome many of the current inefficiencies associated with invoicing and remittances relating to mail, and February saw the first PASS workshop to thrash out the requirements and details.

The meeting was well attended with eight key Airlines (American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Lufthansa Cargo, Qantas Airways, Scandinavian Airlines, Swiss Airlines, Untiled Airlines) and seven important Postal Operators (China Post, USPS, Deutsche Post, La Poste France, Correos Post Spain, Österreichische Post, Swiss Post) meeting to set out key business requirements and to investigate opportunities for a settlement platform to resolve long-outstanding issues.

PASS needs to be flexible in order to meet all current bilateral commercial relationship requirements and it will be compliant with Universal Postal Union (UPU) and IATA standards. It will provide an interface with IPC (International Post Corporation) when appropriate and will produce consolidated or group billings and offer variable settlement options, as selected by the participants. Key benefits for Airlines and Postal Operators are:

  • Direct collaboration between airlines and postal companies, generating new business opportunities
  • Enabling postal operators to accommodate electronic data interchange with multiple airlines to standardizing procedures, outputs, and online dispute functionality speeding up the overall process
  • Single platform for production, distribution, and reception of standardized electronic invoices in multiple formats and providing consolidated billing
  • Improvement of invoice accuracy and minimisation of data error
  • Optional account reconciliation function to the postal companies
  • Production of postal industry statistics

IATA is currently engaging Postal operators and Airlines willing to support the project and to conduct pilots with the next workshop scheduled to take place in April 2018 to present the final business requirements and sign off by the participants. Anyone requiring more details should visit the PASS web page or contact IATA direct at iatapass@iata.org.