The controversial New Distribution Capability (NDC) advanced by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) but questioned by many travel industry and agency groups will be tested in a new pilot program announced by IATA.
First-time pilot participants include Aeroflot, Aer Lingus and Qatar Airways, while JR Technologies (JRT) is conducting its second pilot, IATA reports.
NDC was launched by IATA for the development and market adoption of a new, XML-based data transmission standard. IATA believes NDC will enable the travel industry to transform the way air products are retailed to corporations, leisure and business travelers, by addressing the industry’s current distribution limitations. This includes: product differentiation and time-to-market, access to full and rich air content and finally, transparent shopping experience, IATA says.
“We are delighted to be the first Middle East airline to launch an NDC pilot,” said Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker. “We believe that given our position as a leading full service carrier, Qatar Airways will be able to benefit significantly from NDC features as this will enable us to better showcase the value of our five-star product offering to our passengers.”
This is the second NDC pilot for JRT, IATA notes. In 2013, JRT participated in pilots with American Airlines and Air New Zealand. This time, JRT will pilot a live implementation of an NDC Aggregator platform. American Airlines and Air Canada, among others, will join this demonstration, IATA says.
“We want to help all the players in the airline distribution value chain wrap their arms around NDC. We hope they will all benefit from this exercise,” said George Khairallah, president of JRT.
IATA noted that late last month the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) tentatively approved Resolution 787, which is the foundation document for NDC.
In its decision, DOT said, “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.”
“We welcome the participation of Aer Lingus, Aeroflot, and Qatar Airways, as well as JR Technologies. The new pilots will support the development of the NDC standard to modernize the way that airline products are presented through travel agents and help to promote efficiency, and innovation,” said IATA director general and CEO Tony Tyler. The NDC pilot program was launched in 2013 with pilots involving American Airlines, Air New Zealand, Hainan Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Swiss International Air Lines, IATA notes. Earlier this year, additional pilots were launched by Shandong Airlines and Air Canada.