Singapore Airlines will expand its New Distribution Capability-based KrisConnect Program to the United States in March 2021, the carrier announced.
KrisConnect, which Singapore launched in 2018, acts as an "NDC gateway" that gives third parties access to sell and service ancillary products, discounts and bundles, including providing personalized offers to travelers based on their trip type -- offering Wi-Fi to someone traveling on business, for example -- and KrisFlyer loyalty program status, Singapore Airlines vice president of e-commerce and distribution Bryan Koh said.
Connection options include direct to agencies, through all major global distribution systems, Singapore's Agent 360 travel agent portal and such other partners as Travelfusion and Verteil Technologies.
"What we aim to do is allow agents to sell more and sell better," Koh said. "When they can do that, they become an extended sales force for us."
Currently, more than 400 agencies are connected, according to Koh.
Singapore already has started outreach to U.S. agencies to start onboarding work over the next six months, with plans to make content live by March. That will include webinars with corporate travel partners and accounts over the next several weeks to talk about KrisConnect and its implementation, Singapore Airlines Eastern U.S. vice president Adrian Ee said.
The capabilities also will give Singapore new capabilities in agreements with corporate customers, Koh said.
"Our major corporate deals come with free Wi-Fi," he said. "Now, we can negotiate free seats and can offer other economic benefits."
In recent months, Singapore announced that it would begin to levy a U.S. $12 per-ticket surcharge on GDS bookings through the legacy EDIFACT standard in January for seven initial markets: Singapore, Australia, Germany, Indonesia, New Zealand, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. While that list did not include the United States, Singapore indicated that it eventually would have the surcharge at all points of sale, The Beat reported in August.
On Monday, Koh said "no decisions" have been made regarding the surcharge in the U.S. market. Ee said that if it is imposed in the United States, it would not be before the KrisConnect Program was available there.