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New distribution standards initiative launches

Travel agent associations team up

NDC
NDC has raised concern from several parties

A new initiative has been created which will attempt to settle the debate around IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC).  

Seven associations around the world including the European Federation of Travel Agents’ Associations (ECTAA) and the European Technology & Travel Services Association (ETTSA) have launched a new initiative which it hopes will “end the animosity cause by IATA’s unilaterally proposed NDC”.

The associations, which also includes the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), the Business Travel Coalition (BTC), the Consumer Travel Alliance (CTA), and the Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech), will be inviting IATA, airlines, technology companies and other associations to join its scheme and devise data standards for selling air products.

Many have criticised IATA for the way it created NDC, although the association has always maintained that it has involved all parts of the travel industry since its initial planning stages. Pilots of the scheme are currently taking place.

“While IATA claims NDC is such a data standard and nothing more, in reality it appears to involve a group of airlines attempting to collectively impose on buyers, consumers and travel agents a business model. That model seems to be founded on the use of opaque fares and ancillaries to make real comparison shopping difficult, if not impossible,” said Christoph Klenner, secretary general of ETTSA.
“Also, IATA has failed to include its peers in the design and development of NDC, despite having promised such involvement for at least the last 18 months. For a data standard to be effective, it needs to be developed by all affected parties. It needs to be business model-agnostic. That’s what this new initiative intends to achieve,” he added.

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