Posted June 3, 2016

No GDSs Or TMCs Are 'NDC Capable' Yet, Based On IATA Certification

The International Air Transport Association on Friday published a registry of airlines, aggregators, IT providers and travel agencies certified by the airline body as "capable of delivering NDC-certified products." None of the global distribution systems have been certified, and only three travel agencies were included. Not one is a corporate travel management company.

IATA launched its registry "to recognize those companies that have implemented part or all of the New Distribution Capability technical standard."

As of June 1, 20 airlines and 17 tech firms had reached at least one of three certification levels, IATA announced, while six other applicants were under review.

According to the registry, only four aggregators had been accredited: TPConnects, Travelfusion and XML Travelgate reached IATA's highest certification level, while another aggregator, Reserve, reached the second level. Regarding their GDS offerings, Amadeus and Travelport were "in progress," meaning their applications remain under review. Sabre was not listed at all—either as a GDS aggregator or as an airline IT technology provider.

As for IT providers—which include passenger services system operators—Hewlett-Packard, IBS Software, JR Technologies, TPConnects and Amadeus, via its Altea platform, achieved IATA's highest certification. Farelogix and Vayant Travel Technologies reached second-level certification, while Datalex and Travelport were "in progress" as IT providers.

Of IATA's three certified "travel agents," China's Ctrip and United Kingdom-based online travel agency Logitravel Group reached the highest certification, while Club Travel, an Ireland-based OTA, reached the base level of certification.

IATA previously disclosed that 20 of the world's top 25 airline groups have deployed or plan to deploy NDC. Its registry lists Air China, British Airways, China Southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines among carriers achieving its highest certification level. American Airlines, Emirates and Qatar Airways reached the second level. Others, including Lufthansa German Airlines and United Airlines, still were "in progress."

IATA's first certification level "covers implementation using past and current NDC schemas with a limited scope—for example, sales of ancillaries post-booking."

This is the level that Amadeus, for example, is seeking on the GDS side of the house, even though its airline IT platform already is certified at the highest level. Like other GDSs, including Sabre, Amadeus has facilitated ancillary sales using NDC-like schemas.

IATA's Level 2 certification "requires a more extensive use" of NDC-based shopping- and offer-management schemas. Level 3 certification would "cover both offer and order management and where the airline takes full control of shopping as well as booking, payment and ticketing," according to IATA.

Posted by: Jay Boehmer | More by Jay Boehmer

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