Iata's NDC a 'game-changer', BA tells trade partners

Iata's NDC a 'game-changer', BA tells trade partners

British Airways has been spelling out to trade partners how Iata’s New Distribution Capability will be a “game changer” for the industry.

The airline hosted its first New Distribution Capability conference attended by 200 people from across the industry, representing corporate clients, travel partners, aggregators and GDSs.

Tuesday’s event was organised as part of the airline’s commitment to drive awareness and discussion around NDC.

The standard was established by Iata to enable the travel industry to communicate in the same language, drive revenue and better understand the products available to travellers.

BA chief commercial officer Adam Daniels said: “We really believe that NDC is a game-changer and we think it’s critical that open discussions are had across the industry.

“Our distribution and sales teams have been out and engaging with as many travel experts as possible, seeking their views and developing our approach to NDC with that feedback in mind.

“We feel that there is far more engagement, understanding and excitement about NDC now and what it can deliver for all our businesses, and the conference reinforced that.

“The speakers gave important insights in to how NDC works for their businesses and how they see it evolving.

“It is still in its infancy but the great thing is that it can be adopted and adapted by each individual business to suit their model.”

He added: “The questions we received from the delegates were thought-provoking and helped to generate great discussions around the future of NDC, what works and what needs more development.

“We’ve already had positive anecdotal feedback on the conference and it’s been great for us all to meet one another and have open and direct conversations, which we hope will be of real benefit to everyone who attended.”

Other speakers from BA included head of distribution Ian Luck, who detailed how the airline is approaching NDC, and distribution development manager Nicola Ping, who talked about the detail and technical application of NDC.

The concept of NDC, how it works and its benefits were explained by Iata director Yanik Hoyles.

Moshe Rafiah, chief executive of Travelfusion, which is to become the first IT service provider to launch a site following BA opening up its data to IT developers, talked through how the site would work and the benefits it would bring travel partners.

The new site will enable agents and corporate clients to connect via Travelfusion, rather than building their own IT systems.

The move will make it easier for agents and travel management companies to add value to their customers by being able to access all the relevant information from cabin details and baggage allowance to upgrade options, as well as book flights and service elements such as updating Executive Club information and pre-booking meals, according to BA.

GDSs were represented by Sabre UK & Ireland country director Eric Hallerberg and Travelport product and marketing suite director Melanie Forbes, who talked about the work they were doing to integrate NDC in to their companies.

Frank Skivington, chief commercial officer of Skyscanner - the first travel meta-search engine to sell BA flights with detailed information around elements such as cabin details and baggage allowance thanks to NDC - talked about the success of its work.

Werner Kunz from Fareportal covered the opportunities that NDC can bring to the online travel market.

Hogg Robinson Group chief information officer Bill Brindle discussed how NDC can work alongside a multi-channel environment and emphasised how robust and reliable future distribution systems need to be in order to be adopted by large corporate customers.

The day was closed with a question and answer session with BA head of global sales Stephen Humphreys.

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