Air Canada advances its product distribution capabilities as it makes its first NDC exchange connection

The air transport industry is experiencing an evolution in the distribution of airline content and ATPCO and SITA have confirmed Air Canada has now processed its first NDC (New Distribution Capability) production transaction via the NDC Exchange. Air Canada is the launch customer for the platform that simplifies the adoption of the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) NDC standard and which enables airline to connect directly to a new distribution ecosystem.


Summary:

  • Air Canada has now processed its first NDC (New Distribution Capability) production transaction via IATA and ATPCO’s NDC Exchange;
  • The airline is the launch customer for the platform that simplifies the adoption of the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) NDC standard
  • In this landmark usage of the NDC Exchange platform, Air Canada implemented simultaneous connections to multiple sellers;
  • NDC Exchange supports shopping, booking, and servicing workflows and enables the cross-selling of ancillary services between airlines, and airlines and sellers.

NDC is a new standard aimed at enabling the travel industry to transform the way services are retailed to corporations as well as leisure and business travellers. It provides greater product differentiation, quicker time-to-market, access to full and rich content and delivers a more transparent shopping experience. The NDC Exchange community platform facilitates the real-time NDC connectivity between airlines and sellers (GDSs, travel agents, aggregators, OTAs, and TMCs) so that they can exchange NDC messages easily and cost effectively.

In this landmark usage of the platform, Air Canada implemented simultaneous connections to multiple sellers, including Verteil Technologies, Innfinity Software Systems, Serko and Atriis. This demonstrates, in real-world conditions, the simplicity and scalability of NDC Exchange, says ATPCO and SITA. “NDC Exchange is enabling Air Canada to innovate and get to market rapidly,” says Keith Wallis, director of global product distribution at the North American carrier.

NDC Exchange supports shopping, booking, and servicing workflows and enables the cross-selling of ancillary services between airlines, and airlines and sellers. It normalises messages regardless of version or format, creating interoperability across the distribution ecosystem. Travel sellers can access multiple airlines via NDC Exchange, hence lowering the cost of their implementation.

“In today’s digital world, consumers are accustomed to a more direct and flexible retail experience, and it should be no different with travel. Through NDC Exchange, airlines such as Air Canada can move closer to their distribution partners by simplifying and scaling their NDC connectivity in a cost-effective way,” says René Fourel, VP messaging and data services at SITA.

NDC Exchange has seen robust industry interest, with early-joiners Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) providing settlement support and Routehappy by ATPCO powering rich content capabilities to enhance merchandising. NDC Exchange has earned a Level 3 NDC certification, the highest level of certification offered by IATA.

It is clear that NDC Exchange will enable the quick adoption of NDC, while lowering the cost of compliance to the schema and supporting complex interlining as airlines migrate to the new distribution format. ATPCO and SITA are developing an industry owned solution that works as a neutral hub performing real-time message transformations between airlines and sellers, supporting multiple industry standards and versions.

“Participating in NDC Exchange as the launch pilot carrier provides an enormous amount of potential benefit to Air Canada. Beyond the obvious technical benefits of speed to market with an NDC-compliant API and the ability to support multiple standards and schemas, Air Canada is keenly interested in the community effect, whereby the benefit of a distribution network of like-minded partners grows exponentially with each new participant in NDC Exchange,” explains Mr Wallis.