IATA hails a “new era” in airline retailing as a travel agency makes the first New Distribution Capability booking.
The travel commerce platform Travelport today reveals that it has become the first GDS operator to manage the live booking of flights using the International Air Transport Association’s New Distribution Capability technical standard.
The first transaction was made by Meon Valley Travel, an agency in the small English town of Petersfield, for a short-haul low-cost flight from London to Milan issued by “a major European carrier”, Travelport says. The airline has not been named.
The booking was managed on the latest Travelport Smartpoint agency point of sale. The new capability allows bookings to be made for any services on the airline without incurring a surcharge.
It is the first in a series of products the GDS operator is developing to accommodate changing airline distribution methods.
The airline industry has been developing NDC since 2012 with the aim of extending customisation to agents and establishing closer relationships between airlines and customers.
Travelport already offers Rich Content and Branding, now used by over 270 airlines and currently distributing over 339 ancillaries for 90 carriers. Its new NDC capability is enabled using similar XML connections to those it already deploys with APIs for over 20 low-cost carriers.
Travelport published a “roadmap” for its initial range of NDC products in February, having been the first GDS operator in December 2017 to acquire Level 3 certification from IATA as an aggregator.
This status is necessary for any organisation seeking to provide vital offer and order management functions.
Over the next few months, Travelport says that the first version of the NDC capability launched this week will be used by a steadily increasing number of agencies and airlines as part of the NDC rollout.
It will also be followed by a series of product enhancements, including a version for online agents in 2019.
Given the complexity of the technology, Travelport says it will continue to develop these products in consultation with a wide range of agencies and airlines around the world.
Aleks Popovich, IATA’s senior vice president, financial and distribution services, extended his congratulations to Travelport for managing the first NDC-enabled booking through its platform.
“This is a significant step toward the new era of airline retailing. We look forward to continuing to work with Travelport as it advances NDC-enabled products in the coming months and years,” he said.