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NDC (New Distribution Capability) is a travel industry-supported program (NDC Program) launched by IATA for the development and market adoption of a new, XML-based data transmission standard (NDC Standard). The NDC Standard will enhance the capability of communications between airlines and travel agents.

The NDC Standard will enable the travel industry to transform the way -airline products are retailed to corporations, leisure and business travelers, by addressing the industry’s current distribution limitations:

 Product differentiation and time-to-market

 Access to full and rich air content

 Transparent shopping experience

The NDC Standard will allow an airline to make sales offers to agents without them being prepared by a third party as an intermediary. The sales offers can be aligned to current inventories rather than based upon previously filed products (i.e. dynamic and personalized offers are possible). It also unlocks opportunities for the airline to manage other components throughout the indirect distribution process such as the opportunity to fulfill the transaction, create the booking record, issue the document(s) and respond with confirmations – should they choose to do so.

The diagram below describes the high level distribution process in today’s world, and how it could evolve with the NDC standard 
 
While intended for airlines and travel agents, the NDC Standard has implications for the entire airline distribution value chain including GDSs. NDC is an Open AXIS XML-based standard. XML is flexible and powerful allowing airlines to display content rich details about their services.

In general, online travel companies, especially the intermediaries connecting with multiple suppliers, have been heavily using XML APIs for sharing data among various system. Search requests get wrapped up in XML documents –and responded to similarly with content rich offers, confirmations and bookings across the supply chain. XML technology is the facilitator for seamless connectivity and syncing between different systems in real-time. As the ‘information exchange standard’ between disparate channels, it plays a critical role in strengthening the systems of travel suppliers and connect data held in different silos. Mass adoption of XML among airlines promises similar efficiencies. Open AXIS XML ensures that NDC is an open, robust and transparent internet-based data exchange standard.

Multiple other IATA standards are in use, concerning travel information include standards on Tariffs, Schedules, Ticketing & Reservations, Coding and Passenger Services.

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