American Airlines’ push on NDC having ‘major impact on servicing’

The global travel manager of a leading multinational has hit out at British Airways’ partner American Airlines for withdrawing fares from GDSs and making full content available only via new distribution capability (NDC) channels, complaining there is a “major impact on servicing” bookings.

Deborah Short, global travel manager at pharmaceutical giant GSK, said: “This was the wrong time to come with this.”

Speaking at the Business Travel Association (BTA) conference in London earlier in March, she said: “We were just getting back to travel then American Airlines ripped the plaster off.

“Travel management companies [TMCs] have had no money for years and suddenly they have to spend millions [on NDC].”

American Airlines withdrew more than 40% of its fares from GDSs last April.

Short told the BTA: “I don’t know we fully understand the impact, [but] I’m expecting it to get worse. Each airline wants different things [by implementing NDC technology].

She argued: “We do need to change, but we need to do this together. We could do NDC bookings, but it gives me a problem servicing complicated changes [to bookings].”

“Financially it has an impact on us. But the major impact is on servicing.”

Short added: “We have a duty of care [to travellers]. We can be sued, and airlines are not making this easy for us. I urge airlines to think about their corporate customers and to work together.”

She recalled that when she joined the travel industry, “I thought ‘This is so complicated’” despite having a technology degree. But she said: “Boy, we made it more complicated.”

However, James Diaz, UK chief executive at TMC and technology platform Travel Planet, told the BTA: “We’re a small TMC, [and] we capitalised on American moving away from the GDSs.”

He said developing Travel Planet’s NDC connections to American “took two developers four weeks” and said: “It’s not that expensive.”

Diaz argued: “We know it’s the way forward to support these channels.”

But he conceded: “There are challenges around servicing [bookings]. The workflows of airlines are different [and] understanding all the different workflows means a lot of work.”

Diaz also acknowledged: “The costs are a lot bigger for legacy TMCs because they’re walking away from legacy technology.”

BTA chief executive Clive Wratten told the conference: “We need to get to a system and process that work.”

Go to Source...