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For many agents, IATA’s New Distribution Capability remains a mystery wrapped in a riddle. In this year-end analysis, technology editor Michele McDonald lays out the issues in clear language.
The hot travel distribution topic of 2013 without doubt has been IATA’s New Distribution Capability , which has been interpreted as everything from a renaissance for airline-agency relations to a sinister plot to undo the existing GDS business model.
It’s been a year of discussion and debate – and more than a few reassurances and mea culpas from IATA regarding the way NDC was introduced. Yet if you ask a roomful of travel agents who among them understands what NDC is all about, very few hands go up.
That is in part because NDC is exactly what IATA says it is – an XML messaging standard. It’s not a system. It’s akin to a common language, designed to enable trading partners’ systems to communicate with each other more easily.
In the current distribution system, the lack of such standards has made it difficult for airlines to distribute their new products and services through GDSs.
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