ASATA Column: We’re On It


By now, most of you would have heard or read about IATA’s development of new industry standards for the transmission of data, namely NDC (New Distribution Capability).

To date, the proposed NDC has been met with great scepticism and concern, particularly by the global travel agent community and GDS companies. It would appear as if the NDC is being developed to not only circumvent the travel agent and GDS in the distribution of airline ticket sales, but also to control and limit access to fares, based on client profiling. Of late, IATA has gone to great lengths to alleviate these fears and there appears to be a genuine willingness to commit to a consultative process with the travel agent community.

ASATA has engaged IATA in this process, meeting with its Senior Vice-President of Industry Distribution and Financial Services during his recent visit to South Africa. We then participated in the PAPGJC and AAF meeting in Madrid, where the matter was once again raised. ASATA joined the newly-formed Agents Airline Forum, a global forum with a focus on strategic issues, with discussions initiated and led by global agent associations, airline associations and IATA, on passenger distribution standards and infrastructure. 

Following these meetings, the World Travel Agents Association Alliance held its board of directors meeting in Sao Paulo. NDC was the key topic of discussion, and following the meeting we sent out a letter to IATA in which we raised several key concerns regarding NDC.

Be therefore assured that ASATA is taking every possible action to protect our industry. Effort is being made to not only understand NDC, but to participate in discussions and debates that will allow us to develop a clear opinion of its intentions and proposed outcomes. In due course, we will be in a position to put out a clear statement to IATA on whether the Southern African travel agent industry will support or oppose the roll out of NDC. We need to be sure that the value proposition being presented by IATA on NDC is mindful and respectful of the distribution channel called travel agents, which still delivers over 60% of global airline sales.

Otto de Vries