Travelport unveils phased roadmap to bring in NDC content

Travelport has unveiled details of its product plans for airlines going forward based on IATA’s New Distribution Capability technology standard.

The distribution giant, which was first to achieve certification for NDC Level 3 Aggregator in December, development plans will enable agents to access airline NDC content via the Travelport platform.

NDC was unveiled in October 2012 as a new way for airlines to distribute content including ancillaries to websites and travel agencies.

One of the main concerns with NDC for agents has been the ability to continue to access airline fares and ancillaries in a single workflow.

Travelport’s plans should enable agencies to connect to its platform and access traditional content as well as NDC content.

The GDS has gauged feedback from agents and airlines, including Travix, in the development process to ensure all requirements are met.

In a statement, the company says agencies will have access to a “Point of Sale companion application” in the existing Smartpoint desktop tool, offering NDC-enabled content alongside their usual GDS content.

The application is expected to be released in the second half of 2018. The next step will be a fully-integrated search, booking and management functionality, offering both NDC and GDS content in the same workflow, delivered via Travelport’s latest tools including API Trip Services.

The company says it will reveal its first NDC-enabled airline partnership in the near future.

A number of airlines including Lufthansa and British Airways have introduced fees on bookings made within the GDS in a bid to cut distribution costs.

American Airlines instead decided to incentivise agents to use NDC-based technology.

Travelport chief Gordon Wilson has commented in the past that discussions around NDC and changes to airline distribution model have done the GDS companies a favour by highlighting their value.

Travelport already connects to about 24 airlines using APIs and the new NDC content will further boost the capability offered via its rich content and merchandising platform, launched almost five years ago. The company has already signed up about 250 airlines to use the technology.

Travelport chief commercial officer, Stephen Shurrock, says:

“We are extending our range of products ready for the new mixed-economy era of airline distribution. Travelport has a rich history of innovation and, with our NDC-enabled products, we intend to maintain this as we seamlessly, speedily and accurately deliver the broadest range of bookable content to our customers.”

Rival GDS companies Amadeus and Sabre are unlikely to let Travelport get to0 far ahead in the NDC battleground.

Sabre chief Sean Menke announced back in October its intention of being a leader in the development of distribution using the NDC standard.

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