New Distribution Capability (NDC)
31st October 2017
NDC is one of the most talked about topic in our industry at the moment and further to Lufthansa introducing a €16 surcharge for bookings made via the GDS back in September 2015, British Airways and Iberia are now following a similar path. At the present time we believe none of the airlines are capable of offering full functionality via the NDC connection, to the same level of capability as we currently benefit from via the GDS. One example would be the ability to issue and change our own e-tickets. This is a function most of our clients require but NDC airlines would look to take in-house, effectively taking control out of our hands and slowing down our current processes.
You may have read in the press about NDC (New Distribution Capability) proposing a surcharge levied by IAG (British Airways & Iberia in particular) on any booking made via a GDS (Global Distribution System).
We feel it necessary to update you regarding Flightline’s position to date and explain a little more about NDC and how it affects us.
Flightline, like many of our competitors, believe that the GDS at present is the best method of distribution for airline content and continues to offer a wide variety of products. Utilising a GDS is presently the most advanced method of accessing fare content across all airlines and gives us the ability to compare options for you across different airlines.
Our industry body, IATA, are pushing forward that NDC is the best method of distribution for the future and the majority of airlines will look to this in the future to potentially save on costs they have to pay the GDS’s to host their content right now. There will be, once the airlines have caught up, lots of fantastic advantage to using NDC but at this stage we feel that the offering is limited and would likely bring hindrance not help to our clients and the type of business travel service we provide.
As of 1st November, BA and Iberia will introduce a surcharge of £8 per flight component for bookings made via a GDS which is our current primary method. Our primary GDS, Amadeus, are providing a solution that can be used to avoid the fee. At this stage Amadeus and IAG are still in talks regarding their future agreements. We are confident however that a positive agreement will be imminent.
Please be assured that Flightline are in constant contact with both IAG and Amadeus on this pressing issue and would like to also assure our clients that as soon as Amadeus have the go ahead from IAG they will be working hard to roll out their NDC booking platform as soon as possible which our agents in turn will then be able to utilise where appropriate for our client base to avoid the surcharge whenever possible.
During this interim period, we will have access to an online portal where we can make bookings that avoid the surcharge due to the relatively basic capabilities of the website, it may not be the most viable option to utilise for complex bookings and therefore we appreciate your understanding in this matter. We will be sure to let you know as soon as there is any further news.