Travel groups challenge Iata on distribution standards

Travel groups challenge Iata on distribution standards

A coalition of industry groups in the US and Europe has challenged Iata to adopt a “collaborative process” to develop industry standards for a new distribution capability (NDC).

The group launched their initiative in Dublin on Monday at the start of an Iata World Passenger Symposium that will primarily discuss Iata’s proposals and current pilot programme for NDC.

These have come in for fierce criticism. NDC would set industry standards for systems enabling the Amazon-style purchase of airline products through intermediaries.

The coalition includes the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), the Business Travel Coalition (BTC), the Consumer Travel Alliance (CTA) and the Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) – all US groups.

The European Technology and Travel Services Association (ETTSA) and European Federation of Travel Agents’ Associations (ECTAA) issued a statement in support.

ETTSA represents the major global distribution systems in Europe and includes Expedia, Opodo and Lastminute.com as members. ECTAA represents Abta in Europe.

The coalition argues its proposal would allow airlines to personalise fare offers to customers while maintaining comparison shopping between multiple carriers.

ASTA senior vice president for legal and industry affairs Paul Ruden (pictured) said: “We need to come together as an industry to develop a neutral data standard which enables airlines to effectively distribute rich content and enhances the comparison-shopping experience for consumers and travel buyers.”

Travel Tech president Steve Shur said: “We’ve spent a year arguing over standards that clearly are not supported by the airlines’ partners or travellers themselves.

“We’re offering to put down our swords and come together on a new and better approach that includes all of the key stakeholders in the air travel industry.”

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