Airlines will continue to offer traditional corporate deals despite the advent of New Distribution Capability (NDC).
NDC is a new way of distributing flights which is currently being developed by IATA to offer a more “Amazon-style” personalised shopping experience for airline customers.
Travel buyers questioned whether NDC would mean the end of corporate deals with airlines during the Management Solutions forum in London.
But Christian Schindler, Lufthansa Group’s UK and Ireland director, said: “We will continue doing corporate deals. I think the majority of airlines are interested in enhancing what we can offer on the GDS platform.
“It’s still our major sales channel for legacy airlines – we want to match what Easyjet is doing on its website. Currently we can offer these services on our websites but not on other channels – the modern world needs to be available through all sales methods.
“NDC is not about changing the corporate deals or leveraging them, it’s about adapting to the new world and to enhance sales channels. Corporate deals are definitely here to stay.”
Diane Bouzebiba, Amadeus’ UK and Ireland managing director, called the NDC initiative “extremely interesting” but pointed out that buyers were the one group in the travel industry not represented at talks about this development.
“The one big member of the travel chain which is not represented in the discussions about NDC is the travel buyer – the customer,” she added.
“One plea I would make to buyers is that they should make sure they find out about it. At the moment, the answer to the question about NDC’s impact on corporate deals is unclear.”
Buyers at the ITM conference last month said they wanted to be consulted on how NDC could affect their travel programmes and policies.