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Monday, March 18, 2013

IATA Seeks U.S. Approval of New Distribution Capability

The International Air Transportation Association (IATA) announced an application filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) seeking approval of Passenger Services Conference Resolution 787, the agreement that creates the framework for its New Distribution Capability (NDC).

NDC is IATA’s collaborative airline industry initiative looking to define an extensible markup language (XML) messaging standard to support Internet-based data exchange for airlines and third party travel websites. For example, the standard ensures that consumer requests for data elements such as dates of travel, origination and destination are in a format that is recognizable by both airline and third party travel websites such as Travelocity.

IATA says NDC is necessary because airline distribution communications currently use message data specifications that were developed prior to the Internet. In the 1960s, airlines built distributions applications in a computer language called TELETYPE from data specifications created by IATA and Airlines for America (A4A). Therefore, some airlines currently use individualized data formats based on the data specifications developed 40 years ago. IATA said NDC provides a solution for the outdated data exchange model.

“Today’s air travel consumers who visit a travel agency or an online travel site don’t have easy access to all of the options to add value to their travel plans. This is because the indirect sales channel remains largely dependent on pre-Internet messaging standards,” said Tony Tyler, CEO of IATA. “NDC will make the same choices—and future innovations—available wherever consumers choose to buy their travel products.”

IATA said NDC would enable multiple airline offers to be more easily aggregated and compared than the current segmented airline/travel website model allows.

IATA’s Passenger Services Conference adopted resolution 787 in October 2012. The “Provisions for Conduct of IATA Traffic Conferences” requires IATA to file for approval with DoT for any resolutions coming out of its conferences. More

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