The Business Travel Association has released a five-year review of New Distribution Capability (NDC) in which travel management
companies expressed disappointment in the “lack of progress and the haphazard
approach to NDC adoption” from the airline industry.
According to the BTA, only half of all airlines are
currently certified on any standard of NDC, while only 23 of the 86 carriers
who pledged to adopt the scheme have made the International Air Transport
Association’s (IATA) leader board.
Airlines that are certified by IATA are moving at vastly
different paces; 25 carriers are certified on the 17.2 standard, 10 on 18.1, 17
on 18.2, four on 19.1 and five on 19.2.
The report comes as IATA prepares to release the latest
version of the NDC standard, 21.3.
As a result, the BTA’s report found a functionality gap in
NDC involving issues such as personalisation, unused tickets, group bookings
and interlining. The association said this ultimately negatively impacts the
Furthermore, the BTA said that up to now, NDC has provided
no benefits to the TMC community, corporate customers – aside from lower fares
obtained through renegotiating commercial terms with airline – or the GDSs. On
the other hand, airlines and content aggregators have benefitted from a
reduction in distribution costs, according to the report.
Despite “heavy financial and technological investment from
TMCs”, the review found that the TMC community and business travellers have
been penalised by the scheme, with “promises unfulfilled by airlines”, the BTA
However, the industry body stressed that the TMC community
remains fully on board with the transition to NDC.
BTA chief executive Clive Wratten commented: “We are fully
supportive of the transition to NDC, as modernising airline retail is essential
for the entire business travel community, but this fractured and disjointed
approach is failing to deliver on expectations.
“Airlines must employ a collective customer-centric approach
that streamlines with TMCs’ activities to sustainably grow the business travel
sector and enable tangible change.”
The report comes after several airlines signed agreements around the distribution of NDC content, including International Airlines Group, Air France-KLM, Cathay Pacific and Emirates.