The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and a Coalition of National Travel Agent Associations are collaborating on a study to look at options that could benefit travel agents as the New Distribution Capability (NDC) XML standard is considered for implementation by airlines and technology providers.
The NDC has been a contentious issue since coming to light in 2012, when travel agency groups in Canada and abroad called it “the most significant threat to [agent] income since the original commission cuts.”
The study will be conducted by an independent consultant to be appointed jointly by The Group and IATA, who will undertake research and analysis in the following areas:
• Understanding the impact (e.g., from a business, technology and commercial perspective) of NDC for travel agents
• Exploring options to overcome possible obstacles to successful NDC implementation by the parties within the travel value chain
• Providing scenarios of the potential funding models for the transaction of airfares and airline ancillary products via the travel agent channel using the NDC standard
It will evaluate the issues from the perspectives of large, medium and small agencies, including both business- and leisure-travel focused agencies. It will also seek the views from key stakeholders across the distribution value chain such as airlines, global distribution systems, travel technology firms, and providers of corporate booking tools.
The Group is comprised of associations representing agencies based in Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA including the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA); the Association of Brazilian Travel Agents (ABAV); the Association of Canadian Travel Agents (ACTA); the Association of South African Travel Agents Association (ASATA); The Australian Federation Travel Agents (AFTA); the Travel Agents Association of New Zealand (TAANZ); and the Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI).
“With the full set of NDC ‘end-to-end’ schemas now available, this collaboration between IATA and The Group is a great opportunity to jointly understand the benefits and implications of NDC from the perspective of travel agents,” said Yanik Hoyles, IATA program director, NDC.
“As a better understanding and acceptance of NDC by airlines becomes apparent, it is timely to now undertake this research study to investigate how travel agents might benefit from the implementation of the standard” said Jayson Westbury CEO, AFTA.