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Travel buyers could face higher costs when IATA introduces a new way of distributing flights, according to the boss of ETTSA (European Technology and Travel Services Association).
IATA is currently developing NDC, which is a set of technology standards, to sell flights through travel agencies with the aim of creating an “Amazon-style” shopping experience for users.
But Christoph Klenner (pictured), secretary general of ETTSA, warned: “NDC as it stands is bad news for travel buyers.”
“It is fundamentally at odds with the principles of managed travel programmes – transparency, the ability to comparison-shop anonymously, and the facility of having a single repository where all travel data is securely stored.”
Klenner, who was speaking at the GBTA Europe conference in Prague, added that IATA had to “seriously involve” buyers, travel agents and consumers in developing NDC.
“NDC appears to involve a group of airlines attempting to collectively impose on buyers, consumers and travel agents a business model which is founded on the use of opaque fares and ancillaries to make real comparison shopping difficult, if not impossible," said Klenner.
IATA has continued to strongly deny fears that NDC would make booking flights less transparent and have said that the new system will make it easier for airlines to sell ancillaries.
“NDC is about bringing the same level of capability to display and sell additional products and services through the travel agent channel that already exists on airline websites,” said IATA’s director general Tony Tyler in a speech last week.
“NDC will operate within the same privacy laws that govern every other business. That is no change from today. But, by giving travel agents more information, there will be greater transparency.
“The NDC standard will enable much richer comparison shopping for travel products, not just the base fare, but the entire spectrum of offerings.”