The NDC topic has been one that has dominated distribution discussions all around the world. If you don’t already know NDC stands for New Distribution Capability, a technology standard launched by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) that allows data, such as passenger booking information, to be transferred in a common way over the internet.
It is changing the distribution space forever and key parts of the corporate travel industry are now ready to look forward and delve further into the real impact of this important capability. But there continues to be a lot of uncertainty into the NDC evolution, which has been a little slower than originally envisaged. And there is not a one size fits all offer.
A general industry standard though will facilitate a more efficient airline distribution system, thereby benefiting airlines, agents, GDSs, IT providers and travel start-ups. Airlines, travel management companies, online travel agencies, corporate buyers, global distribution systems and other technology players all contribute to this NDC Standard.
Through a collaborative approach, participants ensure that the supporting schemas are functional and can be used by all regardless of business focus, geographic location, size, target markets and individual commercial policies.
The NDC Standard enables the travel industry to transform the way air products are retailed to corporations, leisure and business travellers. Initial tests have proved successful and IATA promises the programme will hit critical mass this year, but what will NDC look like in five years? Is this complex commercial and technological distribution landscape sustainable? And how are business models evolving in response?
A panel discussion at the CTC-CAPA Corporate Travel Gathering – Australia in Sydney in late Nov-2019, entitled ‘NDC Workshop – Looking Forward, A Guide For Experts’ approached this subject. With an introduction and moderated by Julian Mills, commercial head for global corporate business at ATPI, the panel, consisting of CTM’s global head of partnerships, Scott Ward; Qantas’ global manager – distribution strategy & channel development, Anthony Collins; Serko’s chief strategy officer, Bob Shaw; and University of Sydney’s travel and expense manager, Penny Meakes, shared their expert views.