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Open Allies for Airfare Transparency (Open Allies) has withdrawn its opposition to Resolution 787, the foundation document for the NDC.
IATA and Open Allies have filed a joint motion with the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). This includes conditions both parties want to see included in the final document.
Open Allies, a coalition of independent distributors and sellers that believe air travellers should be able to see and compare airfares, has agreed to Resolution 787 subject to implementation of these conditions.
NDC is a set of technology standards which will give airlines the ability to distribute all their content through third parties. Under NDC, all airlines would use the same IATA-verified standards, which means that third parties – GDSs, TMCs, procurement departments, plus new entrants – can access the same content that airlines are selling directly, and redistribute them on the airlines’ behalf.
IATA hopes the controversial project will create an “Amazon-style” personalised shopping experience. However some TMCs and the major GDS companies have previously expressed concerns about the implications for transparent fare comparison and data privacy.
The agreed conditions, which include a voluntary adoption of new distribution standards and that doing so would not require the disclosure of personal data, can be viewed here.
"We are pleased that we were able to work together with our industry partners to strengthen the principles underlying Resolution 787,” said IATA’s director general and CEO, Tony Tyler. “These include anonymous shopping, data privacy and a voluntary open data standard available to all current and future travel technology suppliers.”
Tyler urged the DOT to approve Resolution 787 in a “timely manner”, so that consumers may benefit from more choice and greater transparency that the NDC will enable.
The announcement has been welcomed by Amadeus, Travelport and the Business Travel Coalition. A spokesperson for Amadeus said it was encouraged that IATA has engaged with the broader travel industry to address concerns.
“We look forward to engaging in the next steps with IATA in order to establish a new industry forum that will govern the setting of standards in the distribution value chain,” the spokesperson said.
“Should the DOT approve Resolution 787 with all of the agreed conditions, Amadeus will consider its formal position to the Resolution. We now urge IATA to ensure that the agreed conditions are reflected in an amended Resolution 787, to be approved at this year's World Passenger Symposium.”
IATA, Open Allies and the industry partners it represents, as well as other stakeholders also agreed to establish an industry forum to support a collaborative approach on distribution issues going forward.
A spokesperson for Travelport said the decision is a “positive step” towards real progress on the next generation of travel distribution standards.
“We hope the DOT follows the advice of these two parties and look forward to continuing to bring new technologies to the table for the benefit of our subscriber and supplier customers alike,” the spokesperson said.