Airline new distribution capability to get boost
ATPCO and SITA today announced that they are joining forces to provide the airline industry with NDC Exchange, an industry-owned platform to support the adoption of IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) for air fares and ancillary sales. NDC Exchange will enable quick adoption of NDC, lower the cost of compliance to the schema, while supporting complex interlining as airlines migrate to the new distribution format.
NDC is designed to enable the travel industry to transform the way air products are retailed to corporations, leisure and business travelers. NDC Exchange will provide simple, cost-effective API connectivity for airlines and their partners to facilitate data exchange. The service has already been successfully piloted by several major international airlines, including Air Canada and British Airways.
“Participating in NDC Exchange as the launch pilot carrier provides an enormous amount of potential benefit to Air Canada” said Keith Wallis, Director of Global Product Distribution for Air Canada. “Beyond the obvious technical benefits of speed to market with an NDC-compliant API and the ability to support multiple standards and schemas, Air Canada is keenly interested in the community effect, whereby the benefit of a distribution network of like-minded partners grows exponentially with each new participant in NDC Exchange.”
NDC Exchange will facilitate the real-time exchange of pricing, shopping and ancillary messages between airlines, travel agents and aggregators. It will normalize messages that use various versions of the NDC schemas. In addition, it will translate messages that are based on non-NDC schemas such as the Open Travel Alliance (OTA) XML schema. In doing this, ATPCO and SITA will support accelerated industry implementation of APIs and NDC while creating interoperability between the existing distribution model and NDC. This will reduce the overall cost to connect to, and support, multiple schema versions.
Rolf Purzer, President & CEO, ATPCO, said: “ATPCO recognized the growing demand for simple, cost-effective API connectivity some time ago. In our partnership with SITA, we have developed this solution to enhance the complex distribution landscape, giving everyone a clear path to incorporate all methods of distribution.”
Ilya Gutlin, SITA President, Air Transport Solutions, said: “NDC can be very disruptive for airline distribution. While it offers exciting new opportunities in the marketplace, it also presents new business and technical challenges for airlines. SITA is teaming with ATPCO to provide an air transport community solution that will facilitate NDC adoption by reducing the complexity for airlines to establish and maintain direct connections with travel agencies and travel management companies.”
ATPCO and SITA are certified IATA NDC Capable IT providers and the NDC Exchange has been given the Level 3 NDC certification. This is the highest level of certification offered by IATA and covers the full spectrum of order management and shopping.
SITA is the global provider of IT and communications to the air transport industry. ATPCO serves as the airline fare and merchandising content data provider for more than 400 airlines worldwide. As industry organizations, they are driven to provide value-added industry services and are investing in the technology to support the evolution and adoption on IATA’s NDC. Both companies play significant roles in the current distribution model and are focused on ensuring interoperability between the existing model and NDC. This unique approach will enable airlines, IT providers, aggregators, travel agents and travel management companies to optimize their processes while the industry maintains both current and NDC distribution.