Nathan Smeulders, Qantas; David Lorimer, HRG Nathan Smeulders, Qantas; David Lorimer, HRG

QF: ‘We’re excited by NDC’

Qantas is excited about the opportunities offered by the New Distribution Capability (NDC) and thinks agents should be too, a technology conference in Bangkok heard last week.

 

Travelport LIVE, which included delegates from New Zealand, had a panel discussion on NDC, and one of those taking part was Nathan Smeulders, senior manager distribution operations with Qantas. ‘We would like everyone to be excited (about NDC) and we encourage agents to put themselves in the shoes of customers. Where do you (agents) want to be when the benefits of NDC come out? If you sit on the side without a plan you will be exposed.’ Twenty one airlines have so far committed to the goal of having 20% of their sales though the NDC API (application programming interface) by the end of 2020. ‘We would like to exceed 20% by then and we are working with our technology partners with that aim,’ says Smeulders. He agrees with other speakers at the conference that airlines will move from selling fares to selling offers through NDC. ‘It will give us one step (solutions) where there have previously been multiple steps and to bundle things like additional bags for example. It’s a game changer when you think about those sorts of things.’

 

HRG managing director Australia David Lorimer, one of the agency representatives on the panel, says NDC should allow his company to source a wider range of relevant fares for its customers. ‘I expect better speed to market (in an NDC environment).’ Panellists agreed that NDC remains a work in progress. Nancy Zhou, senior director business development with Flightroutes24.com, says the company is now talking to airlines about NDC. ‘Different airlines have different strategies – let’s see what happens.’ Ian Heywood, global head of product and marketing air commerce for Travelport, says the new model is yet to be proven. ‘This is an industry in waiting. You will hear a lot of noise – some of it will be empty and some of it will be real. Please come on board, please work with us. Remember we already do 19 APIs with low cost carriers (LCCs). We need to work together and we need to be open to experimentation.’ (Earlier stories in TRAVELinc Memo Friday 6 July and Tuesday 10 July.)

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