Our History

Our History

2021 sees us celebrate our centenary. The Scottish Passenger Agent’s Association’s beginnings in 1921 were in ocean travel – at a time of fierce competition for sea passages across the world. As agents for these passages sprang up, the SPAA was founded as a professional body for agents who dealt with shipping an immigration. Air travel was a thing of the future at the time we were set up, but the seeds of this were sown on 1924 with the establishing of Imperial Airways for commercial flying.

In 1934, the SPAA broke away from the national group, as a Scottish body which was more in touch with local people, conditions and needs. We were, and we remain, a highly influential organisation which protects our members’ common interests and offers a forum for agents to discuss their challenges, problems and issues.

It wasn’t until the 1940s that commercial flights from Scotland to London began – but they remained the preserve of the wealthy as these were too expensive for anything but the richest to consider. The appetite for flying increased over the next few decades and in the 1960s the emphasis for our agents businesses moved from shipping to airlines.....

From our inception in 1920 to today, the SPAA remains a highly regarded organisation. We celebrate a century of consulting with rail, airline and shipping companies on major issues which affect travel, customers and of course our members.

We’ve negotiated and lobbied on everything from new routes to reductions of agents’ commissions and pay on board schemes. It was the SPAA who first, in 2002, introduced the idea of a £1 levy on all passengers in case of airline failures. We continue to discuss and lobby for this to be introduced.

The landscape for global travel constantly evolves. And, as we entered our centenary celebrations we continue our work on behalf of the Scottish travel trade as we actively lobby both the UK and Scottish governments for a road map out of 2020/21’s pandemic travel restrictions.

Our ethos has been – and remains – to keep on talking … even if we don’t always agree.
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