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International Air Transport Association (IATA)

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), is the trade association of the world’s international airline industry. From 57 founding members in 1945, IATA now represents some 290 airlines in 120 countries. Carrying 82% of the world’s air traffic, IATA members include the world’s leading passenger and cargo airlines.

In a fast-changing aviation world, where privatization, alliances and increased competition are global realities, airlines still need to cooperate in order to offer a seamless product of the highest possible standard. Much of that cooperation is expressed through IATA, whose vision is “to be the force for value creation and innovation driving a safe, secure and profitable air transport industry that sustainably connects and enriches our world”.

IATA strives to ensure that people, freight and mail move around the global airline network as easily as if they were on a single country, and that member’s aircraft operate safely, securely, efficiently and economically under clearly defined and understood rules.

Aviation’s role on trade facilitation 

Air freight is carrying over 52 million metric tons of goods a year, representing less than 1% of global trade volume but 35% by value with over USD 6trn of goods carried by air. This shows how the aviation industry is a key enabler for greater global travel, economic links and trade. Air transport is an essential factor in connecting individual countries to the global economy, helping to improve productivity levels to benefit the national economy. Aviation connect businesses to a wide range of global markets, providing a significantly larger customer base for their products than would be accessible otherwise.

To learn more read the leaflet on the Trade facilitation Agreement, our monthly air freight economic analysis and the IATA value of aviation reports.


Measurement of border times for air cargo

The time that air cargo spends at the borders for imports procedures can be estimated based by measuring the time gap between the arrival of the cargo by air at the destination until the handover of the cargo to the consignee.  IATA has carried out analysis of millions of shipments provided by Cargo iQ members in order to provide a global and regional snapshot of the time air cargo spends at the borders. The latest reports can be found below:


What is IATA doing to facilitate trade?

The tight connection between the global economy and the aviation industry is the reason why IATA is actively involved in promoting trade facilitation, and proactively supporting the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). Several IATA projects and initiatives are tightly linked to the TFA’s objectives and directly relate to some of its provisions, like:

  • E-Freight, a project created with the aim to take the paper out of air cargo and replace it with the exchange of electronic data and messages, reducing waiting times and processing costs at borders and airports
  • IATA Cargo Border Management Capacity Building, a capacity building initiative to enhance air cargo trade facilitation in line with the WTO TFA requirements                                                                                     Consult the IATA Cargo Border Management Catalogue to learn more about our services
  • Collaboration with the Global Alliance for trade Facilitation to deliver projects that help implement the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. IATA has submitted a project idea for the automation of customs requirements, risk management and publication of customs procedures in Colombia. The project is now in its development phase
  • Active promotion of the WTO TFA during IATA events such as the World Cargo Symposium and the Cargo Security and Facilitation Forum
  • Signature of the Memorandum of Understanding with the UNECE to jointly promote the concept of trade facilitation
  • Contribution with the World Bank, to a diagnostic relating to the implementation of article 7 of the TFA in two Central American countries in early 2016                                                                                                           

IATA Cargo Border Management