IATA’s director general Tony Tyler has hit out at opponents of the association’s NDC project by accusing them of making untrue statements about the new system.
Tyler used his speech at IATA’s annual general meeting in Cape Town to refute allegations that NDC will reduce the ability to compare airfares and cut out travel agents.
“We are actively engaging regulators around the world to ensure that there is a clear understanding of the value that NDC will bring to the experience of buying travel though an agent—more choices, better quality information and the potential for personalised offers,” said Tyler.
“However, we are not without opponents. And, frankly, some of them are not telling the truth.”
NDC has been attacked by groups such as the US-based Business Travel Coalition while a European Commission working party has also expressed concerns about the system infringing passengers’ privacy rights.
In response to these claims, Tyler said: “NDC will not contravene privacy laws. Nothing in the NDC standard requires passengers to supply personal information to receive an offer.
“But it does provide the opportunity for customers to identify themselves to have their loyalty recognised by the airline – but only if they choose to do it.
“NDC will not bypass travel agents. It will enable them to sell all of what airlines have on offer.
“Lastly, NDC will not eliminate comparison shopping. It will give customers better information on which to make decisions. NDC will support photographic product descriptions so that people can see what they are buying. It will enable passengers to compare the base fare as well as the cost of all the options that are available.”
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Tyler added that “momentum is building” for NDC with the first pilots due to go live before the end of this year.
IATA members unanimously cleared the way for the development on NDC during the AGM by backing a resolution stating that “consumers will benefit from being able to make choices based on enriched content and the ability to compare and transact airline offers in a transparent fashion”.
Business travel groups in the UK have adopted a “wait and see” policy on NDC until more details of how it will work are released later this year. Travel buyers at the ITM conference in April said they wanted to be consulted on how NDC would affect them.