NDC, why this IATA initiative is so important for the future of travel
by Manish Shrivastava

The new IATA initiative NDC is a key technology enabler for effective travel merchandising.

Over the last couple of years, most of you will have heard or read about NDC. Although IATA initiated the project in 2013, NDC has been getting more serious coverage since 2015. It is fuelled by the fact that more and more people are talking about it….but what does it mean for your airline?

To begin with – let us look again what IATA says on their website,

“NDC (New Distribution Capability) will enable the travel industry to transform the way air products are retailed to corporations, leisure and business travelers, by addressing the industry’s current distribution limitations: product differentiation and time-to-market, access to full and rich air content and finally, transparent shopping experience.”

In other words, IATA is developing an industry standard for messaging between airline and distribution systems that helps airlines communicate their product offerings in more detail than is possible today using the legacy standards that were set up decades ago.

You may be thinking, “What are these product offers and how do they compare to the schedules, fares and availability of today?".

Well, if your airline website already offers customers commercial products such as Light or Flex (or whatever creative name that your airline has come up with), then it will be easy for you to imagine. If not, you could look at some other airline websites in your market who offer this type of product.

If you have been involved in a project to enable your airline website with such offers, you're probably well aware of how you build them using your schedules, fares and availability, and how difficult it can be to share these offers with your partners.

NDC messaging standards will support your airline in communicating these offers directly to all your distribution partners, who can implement the new communication protocol with your airline reservation system. Using those standards you can distribute your products in exactly the same way you offer them on your website, and more effectively compete with your competitors.

Being able to sell the exact same product to the same person irrespective of the channel results in streamlined internal airline processes and improved customer satisfaction.

Now, that is definitely something to look forward to!