BTC Questions if IATA Closed to Agency Input

airlineKevin Mitchell, chairman of the Business Travel Coalition (BTC) questioned if there was a role for travel agents to provide meaningful input to the International Air Transport Association's (IATA) on its proposed New Distribution Capacity (NDC).

Reacting to the recent charges by the Association of Retail Travel Agents (ARTA) - and ARTA Canada - that the BTC and the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) had missed an opportunity to establish a dialogue with IATA on its NDC program, Mitchell said there is "no role left, no opportunity for input from these organizations."

"To state as, IATA has, that 'The key attributes of the NDC include that: The NDC is built on the principles of collaboration, transparency and innovation,' is an insult to corporate customers who largely underwrite the global aviation system," Mitchell told Travel Agent.  

“Let's call a spade a spade. ASTA and BTC invited IATA to a forum in Los Angeles to present NDC to travel agencies and corporate travel managers. IATA assured us in Los Angeles that NDC was in its very, very early stages and that technical standards to be adopted in the upcoming working session in Montreal were just the beginning of a long development process," Mitchell said.

"However, the setting of direction usually needs to precede the development of technical standards. As such, the likely reason organizations representing travel agencies and corporate travel departments were excluded from the process, including the Montreal meeting, is because decisions about direction and business models have already been taken; there is no role left, no opportunity for input from these organizations," Mitchell said.


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