Nine out of 10 corporate travel managers are concerned about the cost and policy-compliance implications of Iata’s New Distribution Capability (NDC).

That is according to a survey by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE Global) and leading travel management company (TMC) American Express Global Business Travel.

American Express GBT is in the forefront of developing NDC after signing deals with major airline groups driving adoption of the Iata technology standard.

An ACTE-American Express GBT study, entitled ‘The Evolution of Air Distribution’ and published last week, suggests almost two-thirds (64%) of travel managers believe NDC could improve the booking experience and half (54%) that it could help in negotiations with carriers.

However, 89% fear fragmentation due to NDC will threaten cost control and 87% compliance with travel policy, 90% expressed concern about the reduced functionality of online booking tools, 89% fear unbundling will lead to higher costs, 88% fear a lack of data and 88% are concerned at reduced fare transparency.

Half of those surveyed (49%) said corporate travellers already book airline ancillaries out of policy “as a consequence of airlines unbundling fares”.

The ACTE and American Express GBT said “uncertainty” about NDC “remains pervasive”.

One-in-four travel managers (23%) said they are “not at all” confident in their understanding of NDC and an additional 58% were only “somewhat” confident.

Almost two-thirds (63%) said they “are not exploring any new platforms at this time”.

ACTE Global executive director Greeley Koch said: “NDC could make for better traveller experiences through personalisation. But it has come at a cost to travel managers, who are scrambling to figure out how to maintain control of their programmes if NDC becomes the norm.”

Mike Qualantone, American Express GBT executive vice-president of global supplier relations, said: “We fully embrace NDC. However, we have questions and concerns on how airlines will use NDC as opposed to its potential and promise. NDC alone is not a silver bullet. As an industry, we must find more ways to deliver full content access and an improved experience while maintaining service, comparability and functionality.”