After months of controversy, Open Allies For Airfare Transparency finds merit in the Department of Transportation's proposed rulemaking on the International Air Transport Associations (IATA) Resolution 787 or New Distribution Capability. IATA is also satisfied with the DOT's proposed decision.
Open Allies and IATA negotiated and jointly filed the proposed conditions that were accepted in full by DOT as part of yesterdays DOT order, Open Allies noted.
"We are very pleased that the Department of Transportation (DOT)has given thoughtful consideration to the proposed conditions Open Allies and IATA mutually agreed upon to limit the scope of Resolution 787 and address any industry questions over its implications."
"The language proposed by DOT in this order incorporates all of those, proposed conditions and provides further directive to assure that customer privacy and anonymous shopping for the best flights and fares must remain key principles of any new technology standards," Open Allies said.
"This language also ensures that the adoption of any new technical standards shall be entirely voluntary, not exclude the useof other standards and have no impact on data ownership in addition to not requiring the disclosure of personal data. As proposed, DOT also addresses concerns about the new standards being compatible with existing standards," Open Allies said.
“Ultimately, we believe the DOT proposal provides a solid path for all parties to follow in adopting the next generation of airline distribution standards. But how those standards are developed and implemented will be up to the marketplace to sort out,” said Andrew Weinstein, director, Open Allies.
In a detailed statement IATA welcomed the decision by the DOT to tentatively approve Resolution 787. The Resolution, IATA notes, is the foundation document for the New Distribution Capability (NDC), a program launched by IATA for the development and market adoption of a new, XML-based data transmission standard.
“This is excellent news for air travelers, airlines, intermediaries, and for competition,” said Tony Tyler, IATA director general and CEO.
In its decision, DOT stated that “Comparison shopping under the current system is generally limited strictly to comparing fares, and it is difficult to make price quality comparisons of different carriers’ product offerings....The modernized communication standards and protocols and the marketing innovations that [Resolution 787] could facilitate would be procompetitive and in the public interest.”
DOT also said it accepted the conditions proposed by IATA and Open Allies for Airfare Transparency to ensure that no traveler is required to provide personal information to receive a fare offer (“anonymous shopping”); that the standard remains voluntary and that each airline is free to choose its own data exchange methodologies.
“IATA re-affirms its commitment to the conditions proposed by IATA and Open Allies,” said Tyler.
According to DOT, Resolution 787 will “create modern, industry-wide technical standards and protocols for data transmission throughout the distribution chain, promoting efficiency, cost savings, and innovation through a real-time exchange of price and service information among carriers, travel agents, customers, and other parties, such as web-based aggregators.”
Furthermore, IATA noted that “the use of common technical standards could facilitate the marketplace development of distribution practices and channels that would make it easier for consumers to compare competing carriers’ fares and ancillary products across multiple distribution channels, make purchasing more convenient, allow carriers to customize service and amenity offers, and increase transparency, efficiency, and competition.”
“Working with our partners across the travel value chain, IATA is committed to updating the standard for transmission of airline product offers to enable travel sellers and consumers to have access to all of an airline’s products and offerings and to compare the full value of the product offer, not just the base fare,” Tyler said.