What is NDC?
NDC is not a new technology or software, but 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.
NDC is another step towards the digitization of travel, laying the foundations for more sophisticated retailing whilst aimed to improving the travel experience.
What does NDC mean for our customers?
At FCM, we believe NDC will encourage innovation by creating greater flexibility and quicker speed to market. TMCs, travel managers, arrangers, travelers and airlines alike will benefit. Together with our airline partners, we will be able to tailor products to each client’s specific requirements.
NDC allows us to provide a more personalized, Amazon-style, service for our customers, negotiating value adds and delivering a better overall experience. At FCM, we have a unique view of the innovation opportunities within the leisure, corporate, SME and multinational markets.
As a customer centric business, we are committed to aggregating the widest range of content seamlessly for all customers across all booking channels. Every FCM customer benefits from developments in travel technology, from travel manager and travel arranger to the traveler.
We are working with all our partners (airlines, corporations and technology providers) to ensure FCM customers reap every benefit of NDC by drawing on our expertise to navigate the inherent complexities, include:
- Transparency: The airline will control all elements of the travel offer which the TMC presents to its clients, so we have to ensure our customers get the best fare.
- Choice & Consistency: In an increasingly fragmented distribution landscape, we are responsible for ensuring our customers can compare various options and have access to the widest available choice.
- Cost Efficiency: Distribution fragmentation adds complexity and costs that may offset our ability to deliver a cost-effective, end to end service.
- Seamless Services: Inconsistencies and deficiencies in airline workflows and APIs may impact after-sales service and the traveler experience.
- Reporting & Risk: Content fragmentation across multiple booking channels adds further challenges and limitations in regards to risk handoffs and data reporting.
FCM’s parent company, Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG), has created a new Global Airline Distribution team to oversee the development and implementation of new distribution capabilities. FCTG has established a Global Integration Program to ensure seamless delivery of NDC across our corporate and leisure businesses in all of our regions.
We are now working with the 3 GDSs (Amadeus, Sabre and Travelport) as well as leading airlines to ensure our customers maximize the benefits that NDC can bring. As an active member of the IATA Customer Advisory Forum and Global Travel Management Executive Council, we are working collaboratively with other industry participants to ensure NDC benefits all parties.
We are also working closely with every major airline and have developed robust user cases to ensure their NDC solutions are fit for purpose and enhance the customer experience.
While NDC is still evolving, we are balancing the short-term priorities with building a long-term, sustainable solution. Over the coming months, FCM customers will continue to see significant developments as we take a pragmatic approach to procuring content while protecting the customer experience.