Since the 1960s the world’s travel industry has relied on Global Distribution Systems (GDS) to aggregate content, combining airline schedules, fares and availability into combinations accessible to travel agents, as well as aggregate hotel and car content.
The internet enables airlines to exert more control over what they want to display to the customer, unbundle products and charging supplements for seats, bags, meals etc. Historically, the GDS has not offered the same level of control and flexibility and many airlines see New Distribution Capability (NDC) as an enabler to deliver better and richer content, although whether the end result proves to deliver a cheaper or better alternative to traditional GDS content remains unknown.
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NDC is an XML-based data transmission standard, developed by IATA that allows airlines to distribute their content in real-time. In effect, NDC sets the standard for airline APIs available to any TMC, travel agents, GDS, travel aggregators and corporates, subject to approval from the airline.