As New Distribution Capabilities mature, the expectations shift from possibilities to practicalities
By Mark Rowh
Is it time to disregard the "new" in IATA's New Distribution Capabilities standard? After all NDC has been around for a while, and the technology is maturing. IATA has developed two new levels of NDC certification, and AI and other advancements continue to enhance traveler personalization. For corporate travel programs and policies, that's sure to bring even more change.
Discussions about NDC have shifted from the conceptual (Why NDC?) to pragmatic (How do we make NDC work?), says Lucianne Leighton, managing director of settlement products at ARC. She sees this as important because it allows all parties involved – airlines, travel agencies, aggregators, corporations, settlement and payment systems – to have robust discussions about putting NDC into practice beyond the realm of a theoretical technology perspective.
"Once you're talking about specific implementation scenarios, the downline impacts are better understood and can be resolved," she says. "The NDC standards are ready for prime time, but the ability to 'productionalize' them in a way that supports the volume necessary for mass adoption is critical for success."
Leighton adds that along the same lines, more attention has been paid recently to post-ticketing servicing and changes to policies, processes and systems, which could be barriers to adoption if not handled properly.