The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) has granted final approval to Resolution 787, the foundation document for the New Distribution Capability (NDC), in a move IATA has labelled “a very exciting development for air travellers, airlines, intermediaries, and for competition”.
The final approval follows the DOT’s tentative approval back in May 2014, and paves the way for US carriers to voluntarily implement NDC, which is a programme launched by IATA for the development and market adoption of a new, XML-based data transmission standard.
In short, NDC allows for more effective communications between airlines and travel agents, with the aim of making it easier, faster and cheaper to provide the customer with more information about fare alternatives, ancillary services, onboard amenities and graphics such as seat maps when booking via a travel agent. The likes of Aer Lingus, Aeroflot and Qatar Airways have recently signed up to trials.
The DOT said in a statement: “The use of common technical standards could facilitate the marketplace development of distribution practices and channels that would make it easier for consumers to compare competing carriers’ fares and ancillary products across multiple distribution channels, make purchasing more convenient, allow carriers to customise service and amenity offers, and increase transparency, efficiency, and competition.”
IATA’s Director General and CEO, Tony Tyler, said of the DOT’s final approval: “With the path now clear to begin to implement NDC on a voluntary basis, the next step is the release of the first comprehensive set of NDC end-to-end schemas, so the travel industry can start defining how to best take advantage of the new capability.
“We look forward to working with all stakeholders to advance the standard for transmission of airline product offers. This will enable travel sellers and consumers to have access to all of an airline’s products and offerings and to compare the full value of the product offer, not just the base fare.”