Travel agents

BA to release new short-haul NDC fares to help it compete with low-cost rivals

Posted by Lee Hayhurst on
BA to release new short-haul NDC fares to help it compete with low-cost rivals

British Airways has promised more New Distribution Capability next year that will allow agent partners to compete with its low-cost carrier rivals.

The carrier says it is poised to add new short-haul price points to its NDC channels following what it claims was the successful introduction of a GDS distribution charge this year.

BA said this and new agreement with trade partners that have allowed them to avoid the £8 per fare component distribution technology charge.

Adam Daniels, chief commercial officer at BA, said: “We’ve successfully changed our approach to distribution and the transition has gone incredibly well.

“We’ve received great support from the trade, including signing new, modified agreements with the three GDSs and over 50 of the top UK agents with the view to them developing NDC connections with us.”

BA said it has played a leading role in innovations involving NDC bringing benefits to customers, agents and airlines through merchandising and richer content.

The GDS charge was implemented for bookings that are not made using an NDC based connection, or through other low-cost channels, such as the airline’s website, sales offices and call-centres.

Following its implantation a number of distribution partners complained that BA’s NDC technology was not ready to use as an alternative to the GDSs.

Daniels added: “We know this is a significant change for agents and we understand that implementation of NDC requires some planning, so we are delighted that so many of our partners are now working on it with us.

“We’ve been speaking much more directly to agents about distribution and those two-way conversations mean that we’re able to build new products based on their requirements.

“The introduction to ancillaries has lead the field and in the first half of 2018 we will be introducing significantly more short-haul price points. The change will enable us to compete more efficiently with other short-haul carriers and offer a wider spread of fares, which will benefit the trade and customers alike.

“The new short-haul price products will be available to both the direct and indirect channels.

“We know that NDC will support these new products, so we are confident that these new products can be made available to trade partners who have such a connection in place.

“We are in discussion with third party technology providers including GDSs about provision of these products, as we want these products to be available widely so that we compete more effectively.”

BA said this is the first of many new products it expects to provide that will have features that are supported by NDC.

The airline is working to give agents more options, including a direct NDC connection, access to NDC via the GDSs or through technology providers such as Travelfusion or Hitchhiker, which already deliver airline content to a large number of agents.

Agents that adopt an NDC connection have access to all the airline’s inventory, including discounted leisure and corporate fares.

They can also service bookings, by holding them, paying at a later date, cancelling and amending an itinerary, adding ancillaries, pre-booking additional luggage, adding Executive Club and On Business numbers to enable tracking and paying British Airways via Iata’s Billing and Settlement Plan.

They can also advise the airline of catering requests for pre-order meals in Club World and First, pre-paid meals in World Traveller and World Traveller Plus or special meal orders.


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