UPDATE: IATA working group spearheads modern airline retailing

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A new IATA-developed working group of airlines will collaborate in an effort to speed the adoption of modern airline retailing.
A new IATA-developed working group of airlines will collaborate in an effort to speed the adoption of modern airline retailing. Photo Credit: potowizard/Shutterstock.com

A new IATA-developed working group of airlines will collaborate in an effort to speed the adoption of modern airline retailing.

The consortium is comprised of airlines and airline groups that have been earlier adopters of NDC, as well as IATA's digital servicing and fulfillment standard called One Order. They include American Airlines, Air France-KLM, British Airways, Emirates, Finnair, Iberia, Lufthansa Group, Oman Air, Singapore Airlines and Xiamen Airlines.

The group's formation is part of IATA's effort to lay 100% of the groundwork for airlines to move expeditiously toward what it calls modern airline retailing by 2030. In a definition spelled out by the trade group Tuesday, IATA said modern retailing comprises three pillars: customer identification, retailing with offers and delivery with orders. 

Each of these three pillars involves digital transformation by airlines. On the customer identification front, IATA is encouraging airlines to move toward touchless processes driven by biometric recognition. Retailing with offers is IATA's term for NDC-enabled merchandising of ancillary products and bundles and the advancement of NDC-enabled dynamic pricing and personalized offer capabilities.

Related:

ATPCO lays the foundation for leap in dynamic fare offerings

IATA says 10% of travel agency air sales are via NDC

Delivery with orders encompasses IATA's One Order initiative, which seeks to streamline ticket delivery, servicing and settlements by replacing today's passenger name records (PNRs), e-tickets and electronic miscellaneous documents (EMDs) with a single reference number.

IATA and members of the IATA Airline Retailing Consortium said the group's goal is to expedite progress toward a simpler and more usable distribution framework.

"This mindset change in collaboration and synergy creation is new to our industry and it will pave the way for a much-needed technological leap leaving behind legacy systems," Swiss chief commercial officer Tamur Goudarzi Pour said in a prepared statement on Tuesday. Swiss is part of the Lufthansa Group.

How will IATA speed change?

On Wednesday, during a roundtable with media, IATA distribution director Yanik Hoyles explained that the consortium will be charged with delivering three modules to ease the move by airlines toward modern retailing.

The first will be to spell out the business cases for moving to an all-digital sales and settlement platform. The second module will be the development of the end-state technical architecture of such a platform. The third will be to spell out the transition pathways from legacy distribution technology to a modern, digitally-based retailing.

In June, IATA said that 10% of third-party airline ticket sales are now booked via NDC-enabled technology. Hoyles said the number has increased slightly since them.

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