American has launched a pilot program to test the functionality of selling corporate bundles via connections supported by New Distribution Capability (NDC). 

"We believe this is an industry-first step to combine multiple products into one seamless corporate customer experience through NDC," the airline said. 

NDC is a set of XML standards developed by IATA to enable the sale of airline ancillary products through intermediaries. 

American introduced the corporate bundle trial within the past two weeks, director of distribution strategy Neil Geurin said in an interview. The airline's agency partners for the launch are Amtrav, Brazil's Copastur and Mexico's Marplay. Sales are made via NDC direct connects between American and the agencies' corporate booking tool. 

For the trial, the bundles include a preferred seat, ticket changeability and an extra bag. The focus of the trial is to test the functionality of product displays, fulfillment and settlement, as well as whether the agencies can service the sales on the back end. American is not testing pricing models yet. 

The airline's long-term vision is to sell bundles via NDC-supported connections with both corporate and leisure agencies, Geurin said, though agencies with corporate programs are the first focus. 

"We'll watch it over the course of the next three to six months and expand afterwards if it works," Geurin said. 

American is one of 21 airlines that have signed up for the IATA NDC Leaderboard initiative, saying they aspire to have NDC solutions power at least 20% of their travel agency sales by the end of 2020. Currently, said Geurin, the carrier's percentage of NDC-supported indirect sales is in single digits. 

"We will get to 20%," he said. "I don't know if we'll get to 20% by the end of 2020. I think that hugely depends on the progress the GDSs make on their NDC implementation in the next year."

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