Beyond the new reality – IATA confident of hitting its 20:20 NDC vision

The next year is a key period for IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) standard as the association’s “Leaderboard” airlines work towards a goal of having 20% of their sales powered by NDC in 2020.

NDC is a new XML data transmission standard developed by IATA to support product differentiation, personalisation and dynamic offers across multiple distribution platforms using APIs to connect to various travel agents.

Roughly 66 airlines are at some phase of NDC implementation and IATA’s NDC Leaderboard consists of 21 airlines that have pledged to meet that 20% sales threshold by next year. The airlines working to reach that goal are largely full service carriers.

There’s a lot a of optimism among technology providers regarding NDC. Amadeus, which has achieved Level 3 certification for NDC, declares that a lot of progress has been made since NDC’s launch in 2011. Level 3 is awarded to companies able to demonstrate an ability to execute offer and order managing, meaning they can take NDC offers from airlines and distribute them to travel sellers, according to Amadeus.

Even as NDC implementation among some airlines progresses, Amadeus cautions that the “NDC journey is a long one and as an industry, we’re only at the beginning of it. Full scale global adoption is needed to deliver the return on investment that NDC promises, but for that, there’s still some work to do. Key capabilities are only now being put in place, true standardisation needs to be further enforced, and scalability needs to be achieved”.

Amadeus has created an infographic highlighting what’s needed for global adoption of NDC including consistent API interpretation and mid-to-back office integration. Even as NDC has a long road ahead to widespread adoption of NDC, Amadeus says “there’s growing awareness and engagement from the travel seller community, and a critical mass of airlines is making serious investments”.