23 November 2021 - Millennium Chelsea Harbour Hotel,
9 December 2021, Virtual
February 2022, Virtual
GBTA takes a neutral stance on New Distribution Capability (NDC), but opposes the current Resolution 787 filed by IATA with the US Department of Transportation.
Senior vice president Paul Tilstone told delegates at the GBTA Convention in San Diego that opposition to the resolution was due to the current lack of information on NDC.
Tilstone was chairing a debate on the divisive issue of NDC that saw Sabre senior vice-president Chris Kroeger (pictured) in strong disagreement with IATA director Jean-Charles Odel-Gruau.
Odel-Gruau said IATA wants to “narrow the gap” between the 40-year old trade distribution technology and the content-rich XML technology used on the airlines’ websites.
He demonstrated a dummy version of what the new NDC-standard platform might look like, complete with consumer-style pictures and information on seat pitch, meals and wifi, and airline options to push content such as buying air miles and chauffeur services.
Sabre’s Kroeger said: “NDC is not just about technology standards. I wish it were. It’s about a fundamental shift in flow of information, and how the air shopping process takes place.
“At its core, published fares will not be made available to intermediaries to apply their shopping algorithms on. The fare would only be made available when the airline knew who that traveller was, and had specific information about that traveller.”
Kroeger said this had “significant implications both for efficient comparison shopping with transparency, and data privacy issues”.
He added: “IATA once said they want the GDSs dead or alive. We on the other hand want the airlines very much alive. We all have a vested interest in healthy airline industry.”
Tilstone asked IATA’s Odel-Gruau if the cost of distributing via the GDSs was the motivator for NDC. Odel-Gruau replied: “Cost is not the main driver, but it is one of them.”
One delegate voiced concerns that the system treated the traveller as the customer, rather than the corporate buyer who was paying the bill. IATA’s Odel-Gruau said this wouldn’t be a problem as the NDC model would be able to integrate company policy.
When asked about traveller profiling, Odel-Gruau said that NDC would allow anonymous shopping, Kroeger responded by asserting that Resolution 787’s wording, indicating that an agent would be required to give traveller details before being able to request fares, was at odds with what Odel-Gruau was now saying.
Kroeger said this inconsistency was one of the reasons why he wanted the resolution scrapped.
“Just pull Resolution 787, rewrite it and then we can have a good discussion. There’s a better path forward,” he said.