IATA unveils NDC demo

By Kate Rice

IATA has created a New Distribution Capability Demonstrator, a nonfunctional demo of how air travel could be presented in an NDC-enabled environment.

NDC is an IATA-led initiative to develop an XML-based language standard for travel agent distribution, for the purpose of selling a wider range of airline products and services through agents.

IATA said it sought input from travel agencies and travel management companies in creating the demo, which was shown at its Annual General Meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, over the weekend.

Yanik Hoyles, head of the NDC program, conducted a webinar about the new demo on Tuesday and stressed that IATA is not building a solution.

“This is an example of what an IT provider could do if it embraced NDC standards,” he said.

The demo shows what a booking could look like for a consumer using an online travel agency and for a travel management company (TMC). A video also demonstrates some of the capabilities of an NDC-enabled booking system.



Users can compare ancillary services as well as airfares and scheduling. They can shop anonymously or include more information about themselves, enabling airlines to make offers based on their preferences, such as the type of ancillary services travelers like.

In addition, the mockup showed how carriers could push unique offers to consumers, such as mileage-earning opportunities on a different flight or chauffeur pickup.

IATA did two versions of the demo, one for an online travel agency and one for a travel management company.

Hoyles said that the demo did not include a version for a leisure agency, but said that NDC would provide rich information, giving agents working in niche markets a way to add value to consumers.

Hoyles said that IATA probably will use the demo as an educational tool to demonstrate NDC's potential.

Hoyles said that pilot programs are in the works, but that he couldn’t reveal the participants. He said they would be a combination of an airline, an agency and an IT provider.

He said that IATA is hoping that results from the first pilot could be announced at the IATA World Passenger Symposium scheduled to be held in Dublin in October, and added that there could be one or two pilot programs with NDC by year’s end.

Farelogix President Jim Davidson, who watched the demo at IATA’s meeting, was pleased that IATA got input from online agencies and TMCs in designing the demo.

“They actually got input from the trade,” he said. “That’s the biggest aspect of it.”

Farelogix, a provider of air distribution technology, is working with four airlines in using NDC. Some of the airlines are working with an OTA or TMC to deliver content using the NDC standard.

IATA has a five-year roadmap for moving to an NDC environment.

“It depends on the speed at which partners embrace NDC,” said Hoyles. “If there is resistance, it will take longer. If people come and embrace it quickly, it could move a lot faster."

Follow Kate Rice on Twitter @krtravelweekly. 

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