Tony Tyler, director general and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) defended IATA's New Distribution Capability (NDC) program in a presentation to the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO) Annual General Meeting in Algiers.
Tyler identified five areas in which opportunities exist to further develop aviation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to benefit the region’s economies, including IATA's controversial NDC.
The recent approval of a foundation standard for a new distribution capability (NDC) will enable airlines to sell their full range of products through all distribution channels, IATA said. “It is time to modernize distribution. Our customers expect more."
"When they buy the hotel component of their travel, they can choose the room category, views, package it with a spa treatment, and add breakfast or dinner options. Compare that to the options for buying a plane ticket from an agent. We have lots of ways to add value to our passenger’s travel experience," Tyler said.
"But the legacy model that powers current GDS systems cannot efficiently facilitate making these known to the traveler. The NDC will allow airlines to make their product offers available in the way that they would like to present their products. It will allow GDSs and new entrants to develop new solutions to revolutionize airline retailing,” said Tyler.
Tyler also criticized the European Unions's Emissions Trading Scheme that would tax airlines. “It is a roadblock instead of a stepping stone," Tyler said, urging a global approach through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and more market-based measures (MBM).
“The industry’s pragmatic approach is in stark contrast to the European Union, which continues to pursue the unilateral and extra-territorial inclusion of international aviation in its Emissions Trading Scheme. It is a roadblock instead of a stepping stone. States outside of Europe see this as a challenge to their sovereignty. This is dividing the world and recklessly risking a trade war," Tyler said.
"The challenge is for Europe to create space to arrive at a successful global conclusion for MBMs. Europe needs to find a way of relieving the pressure that it has created. There is no time to lose. We must focus our united industry efforts on helping forge an agreement at the ICAO Assembly less than a year away,” said Tyler.
Tyler also reported that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is growing force in aviation. "For example, over the last decade, the Middle East share of global international traffic has risen from about 5 percent to about 11.5 percent. The rise of the Gulf carriers is an amazing story. They are leading Middle East traffic growth that is still in the double digits. And even if we look at the less-headline-grabbing carriers in North Africa, we are seeing a healthy demand performance,” said Tyler.