CAT rejects plea against IATA's air cargo rules

The Competition Appellate Tribunal on Monday upheld a ruling by the Competition Commission of India over the air cargo accounts settlement system.

The CAT disposed of a plea seeking to restrain implementation of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) cargo accounts settlement system. The tribunal has rejected the plea by the Air Cargo Agents Association of India in this regard.

The Air Cargo Agents Association had sought an injunction against implementing IATA's Cargo Accounts Settlement System (CASS), pleading that it was ''only a pilot project and was not compulsory at all and it was completely voluntary".

In its ruling in July 2013, CCI had said that airlines and agents are not mandated by IATA resolutions to participate in CASS.

IATA in a statement today said it welcomes COMPAT's order recognising that CASS operates within the bounds of India's competition law.

"With the order, COMPAT has disposed of an injunction on CASS by the Air Cargo Agents Association of India (ACAAI) following ACAAI's withdrawal of their appeal," it added.

CASS, which is operational in about 81 countries, simplifies the billing and settling of accounts between airlines and cargo agents. It is being used in Australia, France, Pakistan and the United Kingdom, among other nations.

"In order to derive maximum economic benefits from the anticipated traffic growth, the Indian air cargo community needs to modernise its processes and enhance its efficiencies. CASS is a tool available for airlines and cargo agents," the statement said.

Further, IATA said "since the launch of the CASS India Pilot in May 2013, there has been an increase in the number of participating cargo agents, with more airlines and agents expressing active interest to participate".