New Distribution Capability (NDC) Hub

Your direct connection to NDC knowledge

“NDC is not new, NDC is here to stay […] my recommendation to travel managers is to embrace it.”
Florian Mueller, Global Air Practice Lead, FCM Consulting

 

The state of content across the airline industry is fragmented – and New Distribution Capability (NDC) is the modern solution. If you’re wondering about what NDC means for your travel program, we’ve collated all the key information here.

NDC Stats

Let’s break through all the noise…

What is New Distribution Capability?

 

Per IATA, “NDC (New Distribution Capability) is a travel industry-supported program (NDC Program) launched by IATA for the development and market adoption of a new, XML-based data transmission standard (NDC Standard).”

Having a data “standard” means that everyone involved in the booking process - airlines, TMCs, OBTs, OTAs - talks the same technical language (an XML data standard). This means they can more easily share enhanced information about airfares and ancillaries. NDC is not a platform, it's not a database - it's a new data standard.

In even simpler terms, NDC is another way airlines can deliver airfares to buyers that bypasses legacy systems and provides a consumer-grade shopping experience.

 

Why should travel buyers care?
  1. Better, transparent shopping experience: NDC displays richer media and more information about ancillaries and inclusions during the booking process, helping buyers to select the best option.

  2. Bundles and personalized offers: NDC creates more opportunity for airlines to offer bundles including common ancillaries like Wi-Fi, or bags – saving buyers cost or time. Buyers can also potentially benefit from offers tailored to their unique booking history or preferences.

  3. More pricing options: Unlike legacy data standard EDIFACT which has limited price points, NDC can mean airlines are able to introduce 'continuous' or 'dynamic' pricing. This means that the jump between price points is smaller.

Why does NDC exist?

Mainly, the drivers behind NDC came from the airlines, who wanted to drive revenue while improving traveller experience and satisfaction. We can put their goals into the “three Cs”:

Control
  • …over their own content and where it’s sold

  • …over traveller and booking data

  • …over pricing including ‘continuous’ or ‘dynamic’ pricing, and

  • use this better data for marketing

 

Customer Experience
  • Richer content and media

  • To better show customers how their product differs

  • Potential for better booking experience

  • Offer new bundled or personalized products

 

Cost
  • Use richer content to sell more ancillaries and increase airline revenue

  • Reduce the costs of distributing content through the GDSs

  • Allows new/smaller intermediaries to enter the market

Airport runway  Our NDC Approach

Our NDC Journey

We believe NDC encourages innovation by creating greater flexibility and quicker speed to market. Our approach represents the most efficient and scalable way for NDC to be offered to customers and integrated into all our TMC systems. 

We are committed to providing valuable content which integrates within our customers' entire end-to-end TMC experience. Milestones include: 

  • First global TMC to attain IATA Level 4 NDC certification, confirming our ability to provide ‘Full Offer and Order Management’ including booking, servicing, and flight disruption handling.

  • Among the first global TMCs to be granted inclusion to the IATA Airline Retailing Maturity (ARM) Index. This inclusion is in recognition of FCM’s significant advancement in NDC-focused airline retailing, assessed against capabilities verification and partnerships deployment.

  • Launch partner of Amadeus’ NDC-X program and Sabre’s Beyond NDC program.

  • Working closely with all stakeholders in the industry (major GDSs, payment providers, online booking tools, and leading airlines).

  • Continuing our wide-ranging services in our customers’ distribution channels of choice.

We are helping to design solutions that will drive travel distribution in the future, through:

  • Being ‘NDC-ready’, which means we are live delivering NDC content to our corporate customers.

  • Being an active member of the IATA Global Travel Management Executive Council, which is currently chaired by Markus Eklund, Global Managing Director at FCM Travel.

  • Driving pilot programs in partnership with customers, airlines, and OBTs to discover the best solutions for our wider customer base and create an industry standard.

Our Approach to NDC

FCM offer a uniquely flexible and agile approach to NDC. We are firmly positioned at the forefront of developments in the distribution landscape. Our strong industry partnerships, the expertise of our people, and access to NDC technology ensures where possible we are able to offer our customers the widest range of relevant content to suit their travel needs.

Investment in NDC

Some TMCs have chosen to wait for the GDSs to develop their own NDC solutions, while others have tried to maintain multiple direct airline connections.

FCM has taken a more agile route through our parent company Flight Centre Travel Group’s majority investment in TPConnects, an NDC aggregation specialist. This allows FCM to leverage different means of NDC distribution behind the scenes, with minimal disruption to customers. It provides control over technological enhancements and developments in the NDC space.

Partnerships

FCM works very closely with IATA, our GDS partners Amadeus and Sabre and TPConnects to support the development of scalable solutions to NDC.

Our close industry partnerships span not only GDS providers, but also online booking tool businesses and airlines, to ensure that our customers' end-to-end experience is seamless, and we can offer the widest choice of airfares.

Expertise

FCM was an early adopter of NDC technology, as demonstrated by our journey.

We have decades of airfare and distribution expertise throughout our business, including an industry leading Global Air Distribution team.

Alongside the network of expertise throughout our business, our continued involvement in industry boards and councils allows us to stay at the forefront of NDC developments.

Further resources & reading

NDC is complex.

We’re here to support you on this journey; if you’re ready to explore the opportunities NDC holds, reach out to our team today to learn more. 
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