NDC Exchange - Redefining the Airline Retail Ecosystem
What is this recent hype about this trending catchphrase ‘NDC exchange’? It is not something new rather being in existence for a while now as it as introduced by IATA projecting to streamline the airline retail. Since it’s inception. it has been through constant refinement for XML schema to cater to the various needs of airline retail business. The joint efforts of ATPCO and SITA primarily addressed the main obstacles faced while adopting to the NDC and create a centralized solution for the industry to be benefited as a whole. It’s a simple one to many distribution platforms that are being considered as one of a major milestone in the industry. As per the ATPCO, it is a community marketplace that has the ability to connect various NDC sellers (Airlines, OTA, Agencies, Metasearch, Aggregators etc) )to the sellers using a common API. The overall idea is to create a set of common services to create more value for the industry. We will try to understand that value it can bring to the Airline retail business and other aspects of the NDC exchange program. NDC Exchange is our first step to adopt the digitalization and raise a retail model for airline services that would be cost-effective and take less time to the market. Most important, it could be a significant step to cut down on the cost incurred due to the third-party distributions like GDS.
If you are from the travel industry, you would know about the resources available to the various Airlines to sell its tickets and other ancillary services and level of customer support in case of any last-minute changes would be required. Majorly, they had relied on the various GDS systems like (Travelport, Sabre, Amadeus) and other travel agencies until now. Most of the travel agencies would depend upon the GDS and Airlines and were acting like a middle layer that has a significant disadvantage for the customers in terms of customer support and any last-minute changes. Now, with the release of the NDC exchange, Airlines can directly share their flight information to the booking engines with more control to modify/cancel or even manage the other ancillary services apart from the basic ticket price.
What is NDC?
NDC is the abbreviation for “New distribution Capability” curated by IATA to propose a defined data platform to enable the airlines to provide quality service and information to their sellers and service providers. It is a data standard that allows airlines to adopt a designated framework in acting as digital merchants by providing more personalized contents and services. It has enabled airlines to structure more appropriate and personalized options for each customer. This denotes that the airlines can take control of every offer it customizes to deliver the best shopping experience to each of its customers at first hand, unlike GDS. The Key thing about NDC is it handles data in two ways, data about each customer and the custom offer being routed to the individual. This data is integrating with their technology to seamlessly display to the end-user. It acts as the crucial platform where industry standards are applied by IATA to provide very convenient interaction between airlines, GDS, technology companies, corporate bookers, and also travel agencies. NDC makes it possible for the airlines to act robustly to changing customer demand and ever-expanding technology. The adoption of NDC has been challenging and apprehensive due to the relatively dynamic requirement of industrial infrastructure to support its functioning. The existing distribution Model has been well supported with standards and infrastructure provided by the global distribution system (GDS) however, a new centralized exchange was required which will enable the direct connection of airlines with the rest of the ecosystem, much more comprehensive and larger than the distribution model.
What is NDC exchange?
NDC Exchange is the new technology initiated by ATPCO in collaboration with SITA to accelerate interoperability across the airline ecosystem. NDC exchange acts as the marketplace for the travel industry in terms of offers and orders. ATPCO and SITA partnered to create a solution for this proposal which will eliminate the barriers in adopting NDC and that is the “exchange”, which uniquely acts as a dynamic platform. The ATPCO excels in management and distribution of fare data and ancillary data to ensure unbiased pricing while SITA provides the technology and infrastructure to handle these data. To ensure hassle-free and technical support in direct connection and conversion, NDC exchange provides a much cost-effective way to exchange offers and orders by all channels. An all-purpose hub enables the offers standard to conduct business through a single API. This helps industry partners, to build all connected on one platform and extend it to everyone. It is a cloud-based marketplace that offers scalability and conversion and much ease to access airline content for sellers. NDC exchange acts as a one-stop-shop to chooses services, fare, ancillaries integrated with coherent technology.
What does NDC offer to various class of its Users?
From a Supplier’s perspective:
The airlines distribute the offers to multiple sellers at preferred point of sale. NDC also removes technology barriers with one connection and simplified distribution, giving the airlines the full control on how their offers are being sold and also manage their partnership efficiently. This ensures and Enables consistent branding.
From a Seller’s perspective:
A seller sells the airline’s/partner’s offers. Through this, they have more content and information about the service available to the seller. Much intense information is better for the seller as they can craft the information for the customer. Additionally, it is convenient for them to obtain and access all resources from a single source.
Advantages of using NDC exchange:
- Time to the market
- Control over customer information
- Cutting down on third party distribution costs
- A transparent shopping experience
- More value to the customers with direct access to ancillary services.
NDC exchange utilizes ATPCOs data distribution powerhouse, SITA’s community messaging environment and Route happy by APTCO’s rich content to ensure high security and accuracy, transaction speed and support for future capability. Both ATPCO and SITA is certified by IATA. NDC Exchange has benefitted Fare nexus by acting as the community-driven Marketplace and has been relatively easy and cost-effective to adopt. As it acts as one platform for all services, there is no need for an alternate platform. Despite the various APIs used by service providers and airlines, the NDC exchange provides a common API making it interoperable. NDC Exchange has enabled all sellers and participants to access the airline’s content without having to establish a unique and separate connection with every airline. This has increased the scope of the market and also opened doors for new business opportunities. NDC exchange being a community-driven marketplace supports personalization of airline products and offers to make it a more sophisticated platform for retailing services. It has cut down the complexity of developing and adopting different API standards by providing a single API to help connect the seller and the airline. The real-time message translation to bolster the shopping, booking and prioritizing ancillaries and service processes has been facilitated and made much easier.
How has adoption of NDC benefitted the airline market?
Adoption of NDC exchange has accelerated airline retailing. Adoption of NDC exchange during Pandemic has reduced costs by offering plug and play connectivity to a wide range of services which were critical during the pandemic time and also helped push the airline recovery efforts forward during times of need. It enables the seller to produce to the market the offers and deals with targeted schedules, as integration is possible is just in weeks. It has leveraged the partnerships with various airlines in the ecosystem providing varying options and abundant information. Compelling access to NDC exchange has leveraged the commercial position of the seller in the most competitive travel marketplace. It has delivered more complete access to almost act competent and equal to an airline website in terms of fares, services and appropriate way to serve the client. They seem to be a very appealing platform to access various ancillaries and services of the airlines. NDC Exchange has helped the sellers move from complex old school method of a transaction to highly experienced and sophisticated business mode seamlessly through technology advancement. The NDC Exchange has also facilitated intelligent merchandising for the airlines through agency channels. Considering the rapid transition to the digital era, we must understand that majority of the sales happen online and the internet is the father of the digital era, as a very unique platform that NDC exchange behaves, makes it convenient for travel service providers to sell, publish as well as access airline data to their convenience and make sales to serve it’s client’s needs belonging to the most leisure as well corporate customers.
Additionally, NDC exchange has acted as a saviour in terms of the complexity and influence involved in direct airline purchase. At times where direct airline purchase seemed more advantageous over GDS in terms of pricing and flexibility in schedule, NDC exchange has enabled the travel service providers to overcome this barrier by giving access to various offers and even custom-tailored services to their clients which seems counterproductive and efficient. Farenexus Group is working constantly to develop the modern travel software solutions and as a first step, we have successfully built the NDC capable corporate booking engine that is also connected to an airline contract management tool and profile & policy management system that provides a robust and single platform for you to fully automate the business with innovative travel services and solutions.