Our approach to NDC
Whether you are interested in the basics of IATA's New Distribution Capability (NDC), learning about its benefits or to find out why our NDC approach is industry leading, you came to the right place.
FCM became the first global TMC to attain the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Level 4 (highest level) NDC certification and we are “NDC-ready”, meaning we are live delivering NDC content to our corporate customers.
At the forefront of NDC
FCM is 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. We’re very proud of this progress and look forward to continuing NDC development for our customers.
Why was NDC developed?
Since the 1960s the travel industry has relied on the Global Distribution Systems (GDSs) to aggregate airline content, combine schedules, fares and availability into combinations accessible to travel agents.
Historically, the EDIFACT (Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport) standard used by GDSs to distribute content to travel agents constrained the ability to shop for the entire product suite airlines were offering.
NDC is designed to be the solution to these limitations as NDC is a new, modernised XML-based data transmission standard, developed by IATA.
The basics and beyond
It’s no longer only about schedule or flight time, airlines need to differentiate what they sell to their customers, which is enabled by NDC.
- Additional and more dynamic price points beyond the restricted EDIFACT standard of 26.
- Seat selection and other ancillary products like additional luggage or wi-fi on board.
- Therefore, creating a more personalised shopping experience.
NDC provides the ability to connect travellers directly to all airline content via third-party booking platforms by speaking the same (technical) language:
- Enabling dynamic personalised offers with greater flexibility.
- Distributing directly, via GDSs or any other content aggregator as IATA standardised the different APIs being used to distribute content.
- Using the same language to exchange messages on shopping, booking and servicing components of travel between airlines, travel management companies and other involved in distributing content.
All products an airline offers become available to everyone with NDC:
- Offers upgrades, extra baggage, priority boarding and other products across all booking channels.
- Creates more transparency for the search and book process.
- Enables airlines to differentiate their services among those of their rivals.
- Helps customers make more informed decisions.
How NDC transforms travel content delivery
1. Allowing airlines to bring differentiated and personalised products to market quicker:
- Provides buyers access to a full and rich range of airfares.
- Brings additional transparency into the search and book process.
- Helps customers make more informed decisions.
2. Continuous pricing benefits all stakeholders by:
- Enabling continuous pricing, which offers nearly unlimited price points and therefore eliminates the restriction of 26 price points in the EDIFACT standard.
- Continuous pricing benefits all stakeholders as prices are competitive, consistent across all booking channels and often lower as large price gaps between fare classes are decreased significantly.
- Continuous pricing is designed to offer the lowest available price while matching the customer’s travel needs, so depending on your company’s travel policy the savings could be significant. Fully flexible fare buyers are likely to see the most significant savings.
3. NDC helps TMCs access content which isn’t available through the EDIFACT standard:
- Corporate buyers or travellers can directly book additional products through the TMC rather than through the airline direct channels, enabling greater opportunities for tailor made offerings matching the customer needs.
- By providing choices beyond best price, like the ability to choose and pay for a seat at time of booking, NDC reduces complications with reimbursements and the need to leave the booking process to go to the airline website.
- Additional price points enable more competitive pricing and better comparison shopping without having to check multiple sources.
- This means NDC enables delivery of ancillaries, product bundles, dynamic pricing and customized offers while improving travel adoption.
- NDC leads to drive incremental savings, better quality data, reporting, visibility and duty of care. This gives corporate travel managers the confidence that they can get the access they need for all of their travellers while staying within policy.
4. Improved corporate deals and traveller experience through personalisation:
- As corporate travellers access more of the content, airlines learn more about the shopping habits of the corporation.
- Therefore, airlines can tailor some of the content, for example, offering wi-fi to those customers who chose it on recent trips.
- Corporate travel managers could negotiate personalised corporate deals creating added value and further enhancing their traveller experience.
TMCs, travel managers, arrangers, travellers and airlines alike benefit from NDC. Together with our airline partners, our travel experts can tailor quotes and products that meet each of our client’s specific requirements. “As a corporate customer, we will ensure that nothing changes from a process perspective – you’ll simply get access to the new content,” confirmed Nicola Ping, Global Product Director, Air Distribution at Flight Centre Travel Group.
Our industry leading approach:
FCM fully embraces NDC. We believe NDC encourages innovation by creating greater flexibility and quicker speed to market.
We are committed to offering the widest range of content seamlessly for all customers, across all booking channels.
We ensure our clients have nothing to worry about by:
- 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 customer’s distribution channel of choice.
- Maximising our customers potential NDC benefits.
We are helping to design solutions that will drive travel distribution in the future:
- We are the first global TMC to attain IATA Level 4 (highest level) NDC certification, confirming our ability to provide ‘Full Offer and Order Management’ including booking, servicing and flight disruption handling.
- We are a launch partner of Amadeus’ NDC-X program and Sabre’s Beyond NDC program.
- We are an active member of the IATA Global Travel Management Executive Council, which is currently chaired by Markus Eklund, Global Managing Director at FCM Travel.
- In addition, some of our executives and key members of our teams are part of various advisory boards, panels and forums to help provide critical information to further advance NDC.
- Our company with its diverse geographic and multi-brand strategy has a unique vantage point.
- We are “NDC-ready”, which means we are live delivering NDC content to our corporate customers.
- We are a frequent pilot customer for leading airlines, GDSs and online booking tools as they continue to expand their solutions.
While some competitors have chosen to use a direct connect with airlines to consume NDC content, we believe in our approach:
- Working with our content aggregation partners, like Amadeus and Sabre as well as but also TPConnects, Flight Centre’s technology provider for NDC content outside GDSs.
- As more airlines will launch or expand their NDC content, building and maintaining these direct connects will be challenging. Therefore, investing strategically into TPConnects, offers control similar to a direct connect while having distribution technology experts build and maintain connections for us.
- None of our competitors benefits from a setup like this.
We believe our approach represents the most efficient and scalable way for NDC to be offered to customers and integrated into all our TMC systems. Our NDC approach is industry leading and you won’t find a broader, more thought-through NDC solution with another TMC.