With end-to-end servicing for bookings, compelling upsell features, and better branding capabilities the time for airlines to adopt the latest NDC schema is now.
Nenad Mihajlovic, Head of MSC Customer Engagements at Travelport, talks NDC schema 19.2 and Travelport's recent achievement of IATA level 4 certification
NDC has come on light years since it was first announced by IATA. Already, 22 leading airlines — known as the ‘Leaderboard’ airlines — have committed to transacting 20% of their fares over the NDC API by the end of the year. Many have also made their intentions clear in terms of heavily prioritizing API bookings in the future.
But while the industry is finally working together to unlock the potential commercial benefits of NDC, many airlines, travel agents and consultants are still using earlier versions of the NDC schema — mostly version 17.2.
As further development is still needed to address the few remaining functionality gaps in the current 19.2 schema, adoption delay seems justifiable to users. Just like consumers waiting for the latest operating system release before they change their laptop, many companies are also waiting until the functionality gaps are filled before they embark on any kind of schema upgrade. Airlines also have the added pressure of delivering the committed transactions through 2020, and so have less appetite to change schemas at the moment.
Why the time to adopt the latest NDC schema is now
While it’s true that there are still a few minor functionality gaps, I believe that for any new airlines progressing on their NDC journey the time to adopt the latest NDC schema, version 19.2, is now.
With 19.2, you get major advantages compared to previous schema releases. In particular Masked Price indicator, which enables net fares to be sold; better offer commission structure; and Taxonomy, which allows the airlines to better define and describe their products. When combined with the Travelport Travel Commerce platform, the new schema also allows travel agents to book and manage NDC content directly from within their existing workflows — which is a huge benefit for any agency looking to expand their offers for customers.