New Distribution Capability (NDC) An Overview

New Distribution Capability (NDC): An Overview


The New Distribution Capability (NDC) represents a pivotal shift in the way airlines distribute content and manage bookings. Initiated by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), NDC is a set of standards designed to modernize and enhance the communication between airlines, travel agencies, and flight aggregators. Its primary objective is to provide a richer, more personalized travel experience for consumers.

What is NDC?

In the traditional distribution model, airlines often faced limitations in showcasing their full range of products and services. With NDC, airlines can now offer a broader spectrum of fare options, ancillary services, and tailored packages directly to travel agencies and other third-party platforms. This not only empowers carriers to differentiate themselves in a competitive market but also ensures that travelers have access to the most comprehensive and up-to-date offerings.

NDC’s capabilities extend beyond mere content presentation. It facilitates direct communication between airlines and distribution partners, bypassing older systems that might not support the latest airline products. This direct channel of communication is especially crucial in an era where travelers demand instant, accurate, and personalized information.

Furthermore, NDC implementation across the United States and other regions is fostering a more unified approach to airline distribution. By adhering to a standardized set of protocols, airlines, travel agencies, and flight aggregators can interact more efficiently, reducing discrepancies and enhancing the overall booking experience.

As NDC capabilities continue to evolve, the industry can anticipate even more innovations that will redefine the way we think about air travel.

Advantages of NDC for Airlines and Passengers

The New Distribution Capability (NDC) is not just a technological framework; it’s a transformative approach to how airlines and passengers interact. Its advantages are manifold, offering tangible benefits to both airlines and their customers. Let’s delve deeper into how NDC reshapes the landscape for these two primary stakeholders.

For Airlines:

The airline industry is characterized by fierce competition, rapidly changing market dynamics, and a constant need for innovation. In this context, NDC emerges as a beacon of change, offering airlines tools and strategies to enhance their market presence, streamline operations, and foster direct relationships with their customers.

  1. Enhanced Product Differentiation: With NDC, airlines can showcase their full spectrum of offerings, from basic fares to premium services. This allows carriers to differentiate themselves in a saturated market, highlighting unique services or packages that set them apart from competitors.
  2. Direct Communication with Distribution Partners: NDC facilitates a direct channel between airlines and travel agencies or flight aggregators. This bypasses older, more restrictive systems, ensuring that airlines can convey their latest offerings without delay or distortion.
  3. Cost Efficiency: By reducing the reliance on traditional distribution systems, airlines can potentially lower distribution costs. Direct sales through NDC can also lead to increased profit margins.
  4. Dynamic Pricing: NDC supports dynamic pricing strategies, allowing airlines to adjust prices based on real-time demand, seasonality, or special promotions. This flexibility can lead to optimized revenue management.
  5. Data Insights: With more direct interactions with customers, airlines can gather valuable data on traveler preferences and behaviors. This data can inform marketing strategies, service enhancements, and route planning.

For Passengers:

For the modern traveler, expectations have evolved. Passengers seek transparency, personalization, and a seamless travel experience. NDC, with its customer-centric approach, is poised to meet and exceed these expectations, offering passengers a range of benefits that elevate their travel journey.

  1. Personalized Travel Experience: NDC allows for a more tailored travel experience. Passengers can receive offers based on their preferences, previous travel history, or loyalty program status.
  2. Transparent Pricing: With NDC, passengers can view a clear breakdown of what they’re paying for, from the base fare to ancillary services. This transparency ensures that travelers are fully informed before making a booking decision.
  3. Wider Range of Offerings: Through NDC, passengers have access to a broader array of airline products and services. Whether it’s special meal requests, extra legroom seats, or exclusive in-flight entertainment options, travelers can customize their journey to their liking.
  4. Streamlined Booking Process: NDC’s direct communication capabilities can lead to a more efficient booking process. Passengers can expect quicker response times and more accurate information when searching for flights or making changes to their itinerary.
  5. Innovative Services: As airlines harness the power of NDC, they’re more likely to introduce innovative services or packages. This could range from exclusive travel bundles to unique in-flight experiences, all aimed at enhancing passenger satisfaction.

In sum, NDC’s advantages underscore its potential to revolutionize the airline industry, offering unparalleled benefits to both carriers and their valued passengers.

IATA NDC Certification and Airline Retailing Maturity (ARM) Index

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of the airline industry. Recognizing the transformative potential of the New Distribution Capability (NDC), IATA has established a certification program to ensure that airlines, travel agencies, and technology providers align with the NDC standards. Alongside this, the Airline Retailing Maturity (ARM) index serves as a benchmarking tool, assessing the retailing capabilities of airlines in the context of NDC.

IATA NDC Certification:

The IATA NDC Certification is a testament to an organization’s commitment to the NDC standards and its readiness to adopt the latest in airline distribution technology. The certification process is rigorous, ensuring that participants meet the technical and functional requirements set out by IATA.

  1. Levels of Certification: The certification is categorized into three levels – Level 1 (Offer Management), Level 2 (Offer and Order Management), and Level 3 (Full Offer and Order Management). Each level signifies a deeper integration and alignment with NDC standards.
  2. Participants: Not just limited to airlines, the certification extends to travel agencies, IT providers, and other third-party platforms involved in the distribution chain.
  3. Benefits: Achieving certification not only showcases an entity’s dedication to modernizing airline distribution but also fosters trust among partners and customers. It signifies that the certified organization is at the forefront of industry innovation.

Airline Retailing Maturity (ARM) Index:

The ARM index is a strategic tool introduced by IATA to evaluate the retailing maturity of airlines. It provides a comprehensive assessment, taking into account various facets of airline retailing in the NDC era.

  1. Assessment Criteria: The ARM index evaluates airlines based on several criteria, including product differentiation, personalized offers, sales channels, and customer recognition.
  2. Scoring System: Airlines are scored on a scale, with the index providing insights into areas of strength and potential improvement. This allows airlines to benchmark themselves against industry standards and peers.
  3. Strategic Insights: Beyond mere evaluation, the ARM index offers strategic insights, guiding airlines on how to enhance their retailing capabilities. It highlights opportunities for growth and innovation, ensuring airlines remain competitive in a dynamic market.

Both the IATA NDC Certification and the ARM index are instrumental in steering the airline industry towards a more customer-centric and innovative future. They serve as guiding lights, ensuring that airlines not only adopt the latest in technology but also refine their strategies to deliver unparalleled value to their customers.

You may also like…

Airline Reporting Corporation (ARC) and the Right Direction

Airline Reporting Corporation (ARC) and the Right Direction

  The Airline Reporting Corporation, commonly referred to as ARC, stands as a pivotal institution in the aviation sector. Established to bridge the gap between airlines and travel agencies, ARC has evolved into a cornerstone of the airline industry's financial...