A breakthrough is being claimed in dealings with the trade in the US over Iata’s controversial New Distribution Capability for airlines.
The Open Allies for Airfare Transparency is to drop its opposition to Iata’s Resolution 787, the foundation document for the NDC initiative to develop an XML-based data transmission standard for communications between airlines and travel agents.
Open Allies agreed to withdraw its opposition to Resolution 787 subject to the implementation of certain conditions.
Specifically, the conditions clarify Iata’s commitment to the core principles of Resolution 787 regarding anonymous shopping, compatibility of existing data standards with the NDC standard and the voluntary nature of the standard.
They supplement Iata’s filing in June with the US Department for Transport which sought to further define its original submission.
The Business Travel Coalition said the deal meant that inter-channel competition would be protected and it would also withdraw its objections.
Coalition chairman and Open Allies founding member Kevin Mitchell said: “While this breakthrough agreement has the potential to usher in an era of industry-wide collaboration on technical standards, BTC will carefully monitor the implementation of Resolution 787, if approved, for adherence to the agreement.”
Open Allies executive director Andrew Weinstein said: “We are delighted that we were able to reach agreement on conditions to limit the scope of Resolution 787 and ensure that it addresses only data transmission standard-setting, not a new distribution business model.
“We believe these conditions will serve all travellers by safeguarding transparency, competition, and consumer choice, while protecting privacy and ensuring that any new standards developed under Resolution 787 are open standards available to all industry participants.”
Iata, Open Allies, the industry partners it represents, as well as other stakeholders, also agreed to establish an industry forum to support a “collaborative approach” on future distribution issues.
The airline trade body’s director general and CEO Tony Tyler said: “We are pleased that we were able to work together with our industry partners to strengthen the principles underlying Resolution 787.
“These include anonymous shopping, data privacy and a voluntary open data standard available to all current and future travel technology suppliers.
“We urge [US} DOT to approve Resolution 787 in a timely manner so that consumers may benefit from the greater choice and transparency in air travel shopping that the NDC standard will enable.”
The NDC standard will be open to any third party, intermediary, IT provider or non-Iata member to implement and use.
Open Allies member Amadeus said: “We look forward to engaging in the next steps with Iata in order to establish a new industry forum that will govern the setting of standards in the distribution value chain.
“Should the DOT approve Resolution 787 with all of the agreed conditions, Amadeus will also consider its formal position to the Resolution.
“We now urge Iata to ensure that the agreed conditions are reflected in an amended Resolution 787, to be approved at this year’s World Passenger Symposium. Amadeus has engaged consistently with Iata on NDC from the beginning and will continue to do so.
“Furthermore, we are working with a number of airline customers on delivering the functionality envisioned by the industry’s ambition and we are ready to play a leading role in future development. With our scale and leadership position in the industry we believe that we are uniquely positioned to do that.”