Aviation industry says bye bye to YY Fares

These fares once opened up the world for a traveller

One of the earliest relics of the global aviation industry will soon be buried. YY Fares, the multilateral interlineable fares from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) will be rescinded from October 31, 2018. The Association, which represents 275 airlines across the world, said in early July that “the rescinding of YY fares reflects the dramatic transformation that continues to take place in the distribution of airline products.”

YY Fares were established in 1945, enabling a flier to travel anywhere in the world on a single ticket in a single currency. This facility threw open the world as a travel destination for the customer as he could now fly on different airlines and have his luggage checked through to final destination. That was the essence of multilateral interlineable fares.

“It was like an open ticket,” says an official from a leading travel company. “Those times, till the 1990s, an airline would only fly to a limited number of destinations. YY fares would help a flier to travel on multiple airlines using a that open ticket,” he adds. For instance, a flier from Mumbai would take an Air India flight to Frankfurt; and use the same ticket to fly onward to, say Paris, on a Lufthansa flight.

YY Fares were honoured by all member-airlines of IATA, which used to submit coordinated international fares and rates to governments for approval. These fares later came to be known as IATA YY Fares. It was a big achievement in enabling global travel. “YY fares were the backbone of global airfares for much of the last 70 years,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO in a press release.

Technology evolves

But as the IATA Director General and CEO notes, the relevance of YY Fares has been overtaken by changing markets and consumer demands. Over the seven decades as the world economy opened and competition increased, airlines began opting out of the system. One, these carriers were expanding their own market presence, flying to newer destinations.

Also, instead of an umbrella agreement, airlines began focusing on code-sharing agreements and joint ventures. Code-sharing is an arrangement when two or more airlines share the same flight. For instance, recently Jet Airways signed a codeshare agreement with Aeromexico, allowing one airline to book its passenger on the partner’s flight.

As the usage of YY Fares reduced, the IATA in 2006 converted the coordination of YY fares from physical meetings to a web-based system known as e-Tariffs and generates Flex fares. In Flex fares a premium was added to the average of the highest carrier fares for the complete flexibility that the YY Fares offered.

But as competition increased, fewer and fewer airlines were using YY Fares. Lufthansa for instance stopped accepting YY Fares in 2007. In India, there are few at present who are aware of YY Fares. “In fact very few in our office even know about YY Fares,” exclaimed the official from the travel company quoted earlier. Little wonder that YY fares today account for just 0.03 per cent of tickets sold.

(This article was published on July 25, 2017)

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