Continuing the furious pace of NDC-related announcements around the industry, Amadeus said American Airlines and BCD Travel agreed to join its NDC-X program. AA is the first North America-based carrier to commit. BCD joins U.S.-based American Express Global Business Travel and Carlson Wagonlit Travel, and Australia’s Flight Centre.
For Amadeus, like Sabre and Travelport, incorporating NDC means mitigating content fragmentation. Also included in what Amadeus calls its Live Travel Space is traditional GDS content, API connections to low-cost carriers and integration with other aggregators. Agents tapping into Live Travel Space see all relevant content in one spot, helping with comparison shopping and keeping them within a single workflow.
For American, lining up with GDS operators accelerates its own NDC program. AA SVP Alison Taylor during a teleconference last week said more than 250 accounts in the United States and Latin America had signed up, including direct corporate accounts, TMCs and other distributors.
Taylor said smaller customers were the first to show interest, with larger accounts starting to get on board.
Asked if American had sorted out which parties would pay for NDC development, Taylor said that was “the hardest part” of modernizing the distribution chain. “All of us pay our place,” she added. “Everyone in the industry who is partnering — like TMCs, ourselves, Sabre — understand that we need to make sure we get on with this and make sure we cover the costs.”
All parties, that is, except end users. “Corporate customers shouldn’t be concerned that the cost sits with them,” Taylor said.
During the teleconference and in a prepared statement on the Amadeus-AA NDC announcement, Taylor reiterated that AA had no plans to withhold content from GDSs.
Amadeus and its NDC-X partners will test NDC-enabled processes for shopping, ordering and paying. The company said it’s aiming for “industrialization next year.” Avianca and Qantas also are part of the program.
The Live Travel Space feeds such other points of sale as online booking tools. Amadeus’ own OBT, Cytric, “launched in North America with several customers,” according to Ilia Kostov, Amadeus SVP in the Americas for global accounts and business travel.
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