"We have a very small percentage of transactions that are NDC enabled at this point," International Air Transport Association VP Doug Lavin said. "We're not happy about that." During a U.S. Transportation Department hearing this month, he directed frustration at global distribution system contract provisions that, he said, inhibit progress on the New Distribution Capability standard.
In 2010, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, conducted a deep dive into ancillary airline fees and concluded "consumers could benefit from better information about airline-imposed fees."
As it prepares for divorce from the European Union, the U.K. no doubt has bigger priorities than to iron out its governing regulations for airline distribution and global distribution systems. Opting to maintain the status quo, the U.K. has chosen to adopt, upon its March 29 exit from the EU, the European Commission's decade-old computer reservations system code of conduct.
As anticipated, the U.S. Department of Transportation this week officially withdrew a proposed rulemaking that would have required airlines and ticket agents to disclose at all points of sale itinerary-specific details on applicable fees for up to two checked bags and carry-on luggage.
The U.S. Department of Transportation released a new proposal to mandate the disclosure of ancillary fee information through the sales channels where airlines provide fare and schedule information.
The number of electronic miscellaneous documents processed through ARC has been declining on a year-over-year basis for much of the past half year. This followed several years of astounding growth rates, albeit from a very low base. ARC CEO Mike Premo said the rise of basic economy fare products, which restrict the purchase of ancillary add-ons, is a major factor.
The International Air Transport Association certified Sabre Travel Network and Travelport as aggregators that have demonstrated the ability to support its New Distribution Capability standard for airline ancillary sales. As such, Travelport and Sabre became the first and second global distribution systems, respectively, to achieve some level of NDC-capable status as aggregators, while Amadeus remains "in progress," according to IATA.
Instead of creating standalone portals for airlines to support business booking and rewards, NuTravel's Universal Connect product lets carriers deliver business program perks and travel management features—from preferred rates to policy—through their consumer dotcom sites.
British Airways and Iberia parent International Airlines Group told investors last week that 17 percent of its indirect distribution volume is flowing through application programming interfaces or New Distribution Capability-based connections. IAG director of strategy Robert Boyle said the group is well positioned to beat the target of delivering 20 percent of indirect volume by 2020 as a participant in the International Air Transport Association's Leaderboard initiative.