Travelport claims to have become the first GDS operator to manage a flight booking by a travel agent using Iata’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) standard.
Meon Valley Travel made the groundbreaking London-Milan booking with a “major European carrier” on Friday (October 19), Travelport revealed on Tuesday (October 23).
NDC, which has been in development since 2012, allows agents and third parties to book flights and ancillaries through the GDS without incurring a surcharge.
The booking was made using Travelport Smartpoint, the first of what the firm says is a range of products in development designed to adapt to changing airline distribution methods.
Travelport added over “the next few months”, Smartpoint usage would be extended to more agencies and airlines as part of the NDC rollout. A version for online agents will be available next year.
“This is a landmark moment for airline distribution,” said Gordon Wilson, Travelport president and chief executive. “We are delighted to have taken a lead in bringing the NDC era to life.
“It has required an extraordinary amount of skill and expertise to make this happen and I want to thank my own colleagues at Travelport as well as those at our partners.”
Wilson sounded a note of caution though, stressing deployment of NDC was still in its “very earliest stages”. “Its evolution will continue to take time as we learn from the practical experience of its first use,” said Wilson.
“Meanwhile, we continue to offer a comprehensive global travel commerce platform capable of handling mass volumes of searchable and bookable content at speed for the world’s travel providers and agents.”
Colin Boddy, Meon Valley corporate director, added: “We are proud to be the first agency to make an NDC booking using our preferred GDS channel. We have always been at the forefront of technology and are honoured to have been chosen as a partner for this landmark moment.”