Travel groups propose to work with IATA on distribution initiative

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A coalition of travel industry groups that have criticized IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) standard as being too airline-centric has proposed a collaborative effort to develop standards for the distribution of airfares and airline ancillary products. It has invited IATA to join the collaborative effort.


“We need standards that work for everyone — carriers of all sizes, agencies, travel management companies and above all, consumers and buyers,” said Christoph Klenner, secretary general of the European Technology & Travel Services Association, one of the groups calling for the collaborative development of standards for these connections.

Klenner spoke at a press conference held just before the start of IATA’s World Passenger Symposium in Dublin.

The coalition also includes ASTA, the European Federation of Travel Agents Associations, the Business Travel Coalition, the Consumer Travel Alliance and the Travel Technology Association.

The groups want transparency, so consumers can comparison shop fares and ancillaries, and a level playing field that ensures comparison shopping in all channels.

The coalition said that new standards should be created in an environment that encourages innovation, so that all players can choose the technology that works for them as long as it does not interfere with open pricing. Also, consumers should be allowed to shop anonymously when they so choose, and customization should be at the “request of the traveler and not at the demand of the supplier,” said Klenner.

IATA responded positively to the coalition, saying that its statement “on the subjects of transparency, choice, competition, privacy and innovation appear to be fundamentally consistent with the principles of NDC,” said IATA spokesman Perry Flint. “We look forward to receiving more information on the proposed summit in January and continuing to work with these stakeholders going forward.”

Paul Ruden, ASTA’s senior vice president of legal and industry affairs, noted that IATA now is including ASTA in its discussions.

“After 18 months of conflict, IATA said that ASTA can observe the NDC development process and participate in the passenger distribution group advisory forum,” said Ruden.

“ASTA is glad that IATA has opened the door, “ Ruden said, but added that “we are very late to the process and there is a lot of catching up to do.”

Follow Kate Rice on Twitter @krtravelweekly.
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