Going stratospheric with NDC-X

Gianni Pisanello

VP, NDC-X program, Amadeus

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Inspired by SpaceX, “NDC-X” is the name we have given to our program that is going to take NDC beyond where it is today – and I’m excited to be taking up my new role as head of this program. In the near future, we see NDC delivering improved journeys to millions of travelers, and incremental revenue to the whole travel industry. Longer term, who knows what possibilities this new standard will open up.



What the industry can expect from the NDC-X program

The NDC standard holds huge potential to revolutionize the travel industry, but it needs further development and the right economics in order to achieve that. This is a key aspect that our industry has to get right if we are to reap the full benefits. Our NDC-X program will focus on developing new use cases for true standardization, in a test and learn approach, in order to deliver improved capabilities.

We are co-creating with airline and travel seller customers in order to deliver a solution that meets their business requirements. We are working in an agile mode, exploring new ways of doing things, while staying practical. Innovationis at the core of the program, and with a focus on real needs. Nobody is looking for a car with five wheels.

Later this year, we expect to have web service bookings in production, connecting to airlines via NDC. This means that we will be working together with driver partner airlines and travel agencies to enable a simple flow of “shop, order and pay” using the NDC standard.

By next year, we will develop that further to include the servicing capabilities that agencies need, such as the ability to change tickets, or to add ancillaries. This is when NDC will really be industrialized and will be available to our airline and travel seller customers. And we will continue to develop and evolve the standard, adding more sophisticated use cases as we go on.

It’s important for us to set the right expectations. Collaboration is key to get where we need to be. Capabilities will come gradually, as travel tech companies, such as Amadeus, airlines and travel sellers develop the standard so that it can reach its full potential.

Program drivers for success

Amadeus’ solutions connect travelers to the journeys they want through a myriad of travel providers and sellers. We have developed our technology in partnership with the travel industry for 30 years, and we will be using our expertise and global footprint to make NDC work for all players.

Amadeus has been actively engaged with NDC from the start, as the first company to implement NDC v1.0 in production with United Airlines back in 2014 and as a contributor in the IATA work streams. Amadeus was also one of the first companies to achieve level 3 certification as an IT player, and we achieved level 1 certification as an aggregator last year. We are committed to achieve level 3 aggregator certification this year. But this is just the beginning.

That’s why Amadeus is putting the right resources behind this transversal program, and I’m working with a great team to deliver the results the industry needs. See our infographicfor more information.

The future possibilities for NDC

The possibilities are endless. NDC has the potential to go beyond merchandizing – it could revolutionize how travel is bought and sold. At the moment we are setting up a strong foundation. But it’s what we will be able to do on top of that which is really exciting. We will be able to build sophisticated and attractive retailing systems on top of this that will improve the travel experience. When the internet was first created, no one could have imagined Facebook or Amazon. No one knew what it would become. I see the same for NDC. The sky’s the limit.

NDC is also part of a bigger picture: it’s one part of the journey of digitalization that all players in the travel industry are embarking on. Our mission as a company is to help both airlines and travel sellers on that journey through the strength of our technology.

Ultimately, the traveler is at the heart of this change. How can we, as an industry, use NDC and the power of technology to deliver better journeys, to create more value for every traveler, to make travel buying more inspiring, more exciting?  That’s our challenge, and one that we will only solve by tackling together.


Live Travel Space, Travel Platform, NDC