Iata hails New Distribution Capability as ‘now mainstream’

Iata hails New Distribution Capability as ‘now mainstream’

An Iata registry of airlines which have implemented at least part of the association's New Distribution Capability (NDC) standard includes British Airways, American Airlines, Aer Lingus, FlyBe, Emirates and Qatar Airways.

Iata announced the launch of the registry last week, with senior vice president for financial and distribution services Aleks Popovich declaring: "We've seen a huge upsurge in interest and activity among airlines, GDSs and IT providers. NDC is now mainstream.”

Popovich said: "A public registry provides transparency and visibility on existing deployments as well as identifying travel agents, aggregators and IT suppliers who have demonstrated a readiness to support NDC services.”

The registry comprises 18 of the 20 airlines Iata says have deployed NDC and 17 IT providers, including global distribution system (GDS) Amadeus.

Another 12 airlines plan “to deploy NDC soon", according to Iata, including Iberia, Vueling, Lufthansa and Swiss, and in total 86 airlines "have stated they are planning to adopt the NDC standard".

Iata includes GDSs Sabre and Travelport on a list of 30-plus technology companies it describes as "engaged in NDC either directly or at the periphery . . . [having] either participated in IATA IT provider workshops or other NDC working groups".

However, neither Sabre nor Travelport appear on the registry. Nor as yet do any travel agencies or travel management companies, although Iata NDC programme director Yanik Hoyles said: "Without travel agents’ and corporate travel buyers’ buy-in this isn't going to work."

Speaking at the Iata annual general meeting last week in Dublin, Hoyles said: "GDSs are already working towards making it possible for airlines to merchandise their products via travel agents in a manner consistent with airlines' own websites.

“However, each GDS is working on its own proprietary solution.” 

Iata argues NDC will allow airlines to retail through third parties as they do through their own websites.

Hoyles insisted: "NDC will unlock value through the agent channel by providing features and content that the channel cannot access, or is difficult to access, today."

He added: "NDC should facilitate new entry [to the distribution market] which should increase competition and drive down costs.

"NDC is bringing a legacy system into the internet age.”

Hoyles argued: "Travel agents see NDC as an enabler. Corporate buyers see the value as well. In an NDC world corporate buyers will have a lot more within the span of their control and better quality reporting."

Asked how bookings through different technology channels would be integrated for agents to access on a single screen, he said: “The best place to aggregate [bookings] is in the GDS. Amadeus and Travelport are involved in certification. Low cost carrier content is integrated in one screen already."

Iata director general Tony Tyler told the AGM: "NDC is now a reality. The NDC certification programme will help airlines, IT suppliers and travel agents to find each other."

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