Will NDC End Airline Fare Comparisons on GDSs?

Will NDC End Airline Fare Comparisons on GDSs?

If IATA airlines vote later today or tomorrow in Abu Dhabi in favour of a proposed New Distribution Capability the new system could be introduced as early as next year – but travel agent bodies, including ECTAA, ASTA and BTC, are critical of the lack of consultation and are concerned that NDC will prevent them from accessing the best deals for clients and that it will also encroach on ownership of customer information.


Instead of displaying their fares on GDSs, airlines would require agents to submit a travel request, including the passenger’s details, and they will respond with a customised quote.

IATA claims that NDC will allow airlines to offer customers booking via agents a more personalised service, similar to the service they receive when booking on the airlines’ own websites.

 Agents account for 60% of ticket sales by value, but airlines are concerned that GDSs don’t allow them to tailor their offer to the customers and the model is focused only on finding the lowest fare.

IATA Director General and Chief Executive Tony Tyler said: “Airlines are trying to escape the commoditisation trap through differentiation, and merchandising. They are developing products and services, such as special meals, expedited boarding, roomier seats and access to airport lounges. But the travel agent sees only fare codes – F, J, Y and their various derivatives – that cannot fully describe options available. Customers expect more.”

He claimed that the solution was to develop an interface to sit between the airlines and the GDS. “One key outcome will be closing of the gap between airlines and their customers so that customised offers can be made to travellers even through travel agents,” he added.

However, travel agent bodies claim that the new system is being pushed through by a small group of airlines and the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Associations said a lack of detailed consultation with agents and questions over the legality of NDC within the European Union had tarnished the process. It claimed that IATA only started to engage on NDC with ECTAA and other travel agent trade associations in September 2012, despite their repeated requests to be involved since June 2012.

“Agents will have to develop systems and processes to accommodate for NDC distribution,” said ECTAA President Boris Zgomba. “While a single standard to improve the distribution of ancillary services could be beneficial for the whole distribution chain, we feel there has been no consultation on whether NDC is the appropriate model.”

The American Society of Travel Agents and the Business Travel Coalition have also sharply disputed claims by Tony Tyler that the development of NDC was being conducted in open and transparent collaboration with all segments of the travel industry that would be affected by it.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Nina Meyer, ASTA Chief Executive. “ASTA sees nothing in the IATA process to create NDC that resembles full and open transparent collaboration with the travel agency community.”

Click to add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


NEIL STEEDMAN has been a trade journalist, copywriter, editor and proofreader for 50 years, and News & Features Editor for ‘Irish Travel Trade News’ for the past 40 years.

More in News

Aer Lingus Seattle

Aer Lingus Launches Super-Low Stateside Fares

Michael FloodMarch 17, 2018
John Spollen, Cassidy Travel, receives the ITTN Industry Achievement Award

John Spollen Nominated Unopposed for ITAA President

Michael FloodMarch 16, 2018
Hainan Airlines A330-300

Hainan Airlines to Fly Non-Stop Dublin-Beijing

Michael FloodMarch 15, 2018

Aegean Airlines and Dublin Airport Host Trade in Cooks Academy

Michael FloodMarch 15, 2018
Happy St Patricks Day from ATTS

Happy St Patrick’s Day from ATTS

Michael FloodMarch 15, 2018
Emirates New B777-200LR Business Class

Emirates Unveils More Spacious Business Class Seats on B777 Aircraft

Neil SteedmanMarch 14, 2018
Job Opportunities

World Travel Centre Seeks Operations Manager

Neil SteedmanMarch 14, 2018
Eurowings Boomerang Club

Hertz Enters Global Partnership with Eurowings

Neil SteedmanMarch 14, 2018
WTM London 2017

WTM London Announces New 
Exhibiting Area for Marketing and PR Professionals

Neil SteedmanMarch 14, 2018

Copyright © 2016 Belgrave Group Limited, C4 Nutgrove Office Park, Nutgrove Avenue, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14, Ireland