EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW WITH DAVID MALOVANI, FOUNDER OF IATPA: ARE AIRLINES REALLY NOT PLAYING BY THE RULES?26FEB2016 KOFI SONOKPON
Meet a man who thinks that airlines are not playing by the rules and has founded an international association of passengers to ensure that airlines effectively follow established guidelines.
Airline Profits interviewed Mr. David Malovani and Ms. Ifat Aharoni, respectively Founder and Online Marketing Manager of the International Air Transport Passengers Association (IATPA – www.iatpa.net) on January 27, 2016.
Read the full interview below.
Airline Profits: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
David Malovani: I am 57 years old. I have been a business consultant for more than 30 years. I found irregularities in Air Ticket Rules, particularly in no-show cases, and decided to establish IATPA in order to share my knowledge. IATPA community’s main goal is to make Air Ticket Rules more simple and honest to passengers.
Airline Profits: Can you tell us about your interest or passion for aviation, airlines and particularly for airline passengers?
David Malovani: I am a seasoned traveler who uses airline services extensively for matters of both business and pleasure.
IATPA was established as a result of the injustice I saw between big airline companies and consumers. Airlines exploit consumers on a daily basis and IATPA aims to change this situation.
Airline Profits: What is IATPA, when and where was it established and what are its mission, vision and goals?
David Malovani: IATPA (International Air Transport Passenger Association) was established in August 2015.
IATPA is a nonprofit organization based in Delaware USA, to benefit airline passengers all over the world.
IATPA Vision is:
- To ensure reasonable and fair terms and conditions for flight tickets
- To ensure that airline companies abide by IATA rules.
- To modify IATA and airline companies’ rules for the benefit of passengers
Airline Profits: Who else is involved in this association and how is it structured?
David Malovani: IATPA is managed by David Melovani and based on volunteers from all over the world.
Airline Profits: How has the air travel community welcomed the idea of having such an organization?
David Malovani: IATPA didn’t receive any comments from air travel companies yet; however we noticed that IATA became suddenly friendlier to air travel companies by suggesting they adopt IATA rules. IATA is not obliging air travel companies to obey its rules. IATPA believes this is a failure, as ticket rules should be regulated by the same law to all air travel companies.
Airline Profits: Likewise, how has the airline community reacted or responded to your initiative? Do airlines perceive that as a threat or an opportunity to better serve their customers?
David Malovani: IATPA has received good responses from passengers all over the world (more than 35 countries). We started to consult passengers. I believe that initially airline companies perceive IATPA as a threat, but a profound thought about our activity will help them understand that by reaching the passenger in a different way and trying to come to their benefit will assist them to overcome Low Cost companies, which focus their attention mainly on the price and not on service and honest condition for passengers.
Airline Profits: How large is your membership to-date and what types of leverage do you have to influence the airline community?
David Malovani: IATPA community includes more than 531 vision supporters and more than 1560 friends from 35 countries. IATPA extends its vision to airline consumers worldwide.
Until now, IATPA community had no leverage of influence on airline companies. However IATPA’s influence will be reflected by representing cases in court and, with lobbying, we hope to achieve significant change in the current situation which, to our opinion, is forfeited.
Airline Profits: Your organization claims that airlines are “violating rules set by IATA”. Have you notified or are you in the process of notifying IATA about this matter?
David Malovani: During my trial against Delta Airlines I informed IATA about this violation but I didn’t receive any response.
Airline Profits: Are the violations you have noticed limited to some specific airlines or is this common practice across the airline industry?
David Malovani: I Check this issue but not deeply, it is known from the history that they are companies that working against the law.
Airline companies are changing their motto from day to day. They don’t have a unified policy so it’s hard to keep track.
Airline Profits: Do you see any common grounds where you could collaborate with other organizations, including IATA, to reach your goals?
David Malovani: Yes, I believe that before we appeal to legal institutes, it will be useful for IATA to use IATPA as a body that represents passenger’s attitude in order to learn about the passengers’ frustrations and how to adapt IATA rules to the 21st century.
In addition, IATPA aims to find the way to make IATA rules more obligatory so when a passenger will buy an airline ticket, he will have complete transparency regarding the terms and conditions, and the airline companies won’t hide anything from the passenger’s eyes.
Airline Profits: Based on the information available on your website, I understand that one of your organization’s duties or mandates is to provide legal support to passengers in court in case of litigation against airlines. How many cases has your organization supported so far and how many cases are on your waiting list, if you have one?
David Malovani: IATPA was started 3 months ago and is getting requests for to assistance from all over the world on a daily basis. IATPA is working to establish a volunteer lawyer network in order to provide IATPA community response all over the world. These days, our lawyers are taking care of a couple of cases, however, due to legal confidentiality, I cannot provide details.
Airline Profits: What are the most important objectives your organization wants to achieve in 2016?
David Malovani: IATPA’s most important objective for 2016 is to expand its community to passengers all over the world, since passengers encounter these distortions as if they are some of the laws of nature, like the sun rising every day.
Airline Profits: What potential impact do you anticipate your organization would have on airlines ability to make record profits in the long run?
David Malovani: IATPA believes that in the first stage airline companies might be hurt, but airline companies that will put their attention on fair trade will have huge benefit in the long run over their competitors. IATPA believes that purchasing a flight ticket should be nearly like purchasing a train ticket. This, on the one hand, will reduce passenger frustrations and, on the other hand, will decrease airline companies need to hire so many employees to organize flight ticket fair condition. It will also increase the use in air transportation.
Airline Profits: How is your organization funded? Is it solely through membership fees or other sources as well?
David Malovani: These days IATPA based on several contributors. In later stages, after we will work to change IATA rules, IATPA aims to request mass funding for IATPA community.
Moreover, we believe that airline companies that will base their business strategy on fairness to passengers will use IATPA as their adviser and will publish their activity on our website. We are also starting to provide business consultation to big companies that are using airlines frequently. And the same service to private people.
Airline Profits: As hinted by the name of your association, IATPA is an international organization. How many countries have you reached so far and what are the top 5 countries in terms of membership and litigations?
David Malovani: IATPA reached 35 countries and is focused mainly in USA, Canada, Brazil, Russia and the European Union.