The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reports - after reviewing nearly 400 comments filed by third parties - it has urged the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to approve Passenger Services Conference Resolution 787, which formally launched IATA’s initiative to establish a New Distribution Capability (NDC).
NDC is a controversial IATA-led project to develop an XML-based data transmission standard for communications between airlines and travel agents. The NDC standard is open to any third party, intermediary, IT provider or non-IATA member, to implement and use, IATA noted. IATA filed its application to DOT for approval of Resolution 787 in March. DOT requested comments from interested parties and IATA, in a formal “reply” submitted today, offered its responses to those filings.
“The large volume and high quality of comments received from airlines, travel agents, global distribution systems, technology providers, trade associations and other interested parties, shows that NDC has generated strong interest and excitement. It is also clear from the many thoughtful comments that there is a need for greater clarity about the purpose of the NDC standard, which is to make it easier for travelers to make an informed decision on price, amenities and services, regardless of where they choose to buy their tickets,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO.
NDC will provide more choice and transparency for consumers and spark competition and innovation in the industry, IATA said. Suggestions to the contrary are unwarranted, IATA said in its filing—including frequently raised concerns that the NDC standard would diminish price transparency, result in price discrimination or exacerbate threats to individual privacy and that it would be a mandatory standard that airlines and others will be forced to adopt.
IATA said that while confident that industry concerns are addressed within Resolution 787 itself, to avoid any confusion going forward, IATA is proposing that DOT make the following principles clear in its approval:
• Resolution 787 does not require disclosure by any passenger of personal information of any kind
• Resolution 787 does not mandate that airlines or intermediaries distribute products and services via the new XML data transmission standard
• Resolution 787 does not restrict the use of any other data transmission standard, including the existing EDIFACT standard.
• Resolution 787 does not establish a particular business model for the marketing or sale of air transportation.
“These principles are in the letter and spirit of Resolution 787 and IATA members reaffirmed them at the 69th IATA Annual General Meeting held in Cape Town, South Africa at the beginning of June 2013. It is certainly appropriate that they be included in this proceeding as well," Tyler said.
"NDC is about bringing more transparency and competition to the air travel market. Consumers will have the option to choose products and services that add value to their trip. And they will enjoy the same data privacy protection they have today when they visit an airline website or travel agent,” said Tyler.