Experts say New Distribution Capability could revolutionise booking air travel. Andrew Doherty discovers how agents can benefit.
Whether you’re familiar with New Distribution Capability (NDC) or not, it’s becoming clear that the technology is edging closer to industry-wide adoption.
Here Ludo Verheggen, Amadeus’s director of global air content adoption strategy, gives the inside track on NDC, explaining how the technology can benefit travel agents who embrace it.
Simply put, the NDC programme is Iata’s new data standard for XML-based data communications, which will give airlines the ability to distribute their content through third parties.
In March, Amadeus announced an extended collaboration with Flight Centre, which originally began in 2018, to test the enhanced graphical user interface of the NDC-X enabled Amadeus Selling Platform Connect – a cloud-based booking and fulfilment service.
“NDC is essentially a tool for airlines to sell their product in a more modern way,” Verheggen explains. “NDC-X is the term we coined when we brought our IT and business teams together to focus on the practical uses of the technology.”
In contrast to the more complicated legacy GDS interfaces, NDC provides agents with an innovative dashboard allowing them to easily search for flights, compare prices and service airline bookings.
“More importantly, NDC will make it much easier for agents to access ancillary products such as luggage, transfers and hotel room rates,” Verheggen says.
He adds that the new platform, which will be available to UK-based agents this summer, will coexist with the traditional GDS for several years to ensure Amadeus can support both content sources from a technological standpoint.
“Another benefit for agencies already using Amadeus’ Selling Platform Connect is that NDC won’t incur additional costs,” he adds.
With carriers including American Airlines, Qantas and Finnair already onboard with NDC, and more partnerships in the pipeline, Verheggen says he hopes industry-wide adoption will determine NDC’s success.
“We’re not looking at NDC as if it’s a race. In order for it to be successful, the travel industry must embrace it on a global scale.
“We can use it to start making the buying and selling of travel a truly digital retail experience. We feel the possibilities will be endless.”