Bringing in further developments in the NDC right now will upset corporates and put pressure on TMCs, says Asata ceo, Otto de Vries.
Speaking at the GBTA webinar on July 29, he said developments in the NDC across the airline industry had been delayed by COVID-19 rather than relegated. “I think whilst the intent of NDC was quite good, we are going to go through a disruption that will infuriate corporates and put pressure on TMCs to deliver uniformity that isn’t being presented the way the GDS does it. It’s all going to be a confusing muddle.”
The intention of the NDC was initially to develop a standard for distribution so that all customers on any channel could access content and pricing that was consistent and in a standard format, according to Otto.
“What has actually transpired is that [the airlines] have taken NDC and developed their own strategy, in their own way. Instead of seeing a rolling-out of a consistent process, offering access to content, there is a leveraging for individual benefit which is confusing the market,” he says.
Another issue, he points out, is the development of commercial agreements that are being forced on the market, like Singapore Airlines putting a fee on GDS bookings.
The danger of having so many different distribution strategies is the impact on TMC back offices. “TMC back-office developments and how they in turn engage with corporate customers, are largely based on how they access content. If every airline has a different way of presenting content, how many APIs will have to be developed into a back-office environment? Not just from airline to airline but from content to content within airlines,” says Otto.
All of this will affect how TMCs do billings, payments and issue tickets, he adds.
Airlines may have a problem with the GDSs around the cost of distribution, says Otto, but, he suggests that they sit down and renegotiate these costs instead.