Regarding discussion of IATA's New Distribution Capability within the Oct. 3 edition of "THE BEAT SHEET," IATA assistant director of corporate communications Perry Flint submitted the following letter:

An article in The Beat on October 3 about the New Distribution Capability being developed by the International Air Transport Association, presented IATA's views on the impact of NDC on fare filing. However, it is important to note that IATA and the Airline Tariff Publishing Company have and continue to enjoy a strong working relationship on a variety of core industry issues. As the article was focused on NDC, it may be useful to review the ongoing collaboration of IATA and ATPCo on that project:

• ATPCo provided the schema that forms the basis for the NDC standard.

• ATPCo filed in favor of Resolution 787 and is an active participant on the Steering Group of the IATA Distribution Data Exchange Working Group.

• ATPCo is working with IATA, airlines and other major industry stakeholders to launch an NDC pilot.

• ATPCo is an active participant on the Passenger Distribution Group Advisory Forum which focuses on addressing industry questions and concerns regarding the NDC project.

NDC is in year two of a five-year development program. IATA is working with industry partners like ATPCo to ensure that the XML standard meets the needs of all industry distribution participants. It will be up to the market to decide whether or not to adopt this open industry standard. However, whatever the result of NDC, the following points are clear:

• The fact that NDC does not contemplate fare filing (since the offer is made directly by the airline) does not mean that airlines will immediately stop filing fares once NDC is operational. There are many reasons airlines may choose to continue to file all or some fares, or file all or some ancillaries, with ATPCo, including meeting regulatory obligations and/or facilitating interlining with non-IATA airlines.

• NDC will create many opportunities for partners with strong distribution expertise. As an early NDC adopter, ATPCo will be able to leverage their experience with the program to support the distribution needs of airlines going forward.

Finally, the article noted that IATA challenges the argument that maintenance of the current fare filing system should be a public policy priority. However, we should have made it clear that the alleged manipulation to which we referred did not occur within ATPCo systems.

~ IATA assistant director of corporate communications Perry Flint