Industrializing NDC: Three things Amadeus is doing to drive adoption with travel sellers

Anna Kofoed

Executive Vice President, Travel Content Sourcing, Travel Channels, Amadeus

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The NDC (New Distribution Capability) standard has matured significantly since it was introduced and has now reached a point where we can start talking about its industrialization.

Amadeus has taken this challenge head-on. Working closely with industry partners to drive adoption, we are supporting airlines and travel sellers on the NDC journey. Here’s how:

NDC-X program

With innovation at its core, our NDC-X program focuses on delivering improved capabilities for the travel industry by developing new use cases for true standardization. As an aggregator, we’re working closely with travel sellers and airlines from across the industry to create new NDC-enabled solutions. Flight Centre, TravixAMEX GBTCWT, and BCD Travel alongside airlines including Qantas and American Airlines are announced partners of this program; and with other players in the background and more in the pipeline we’re developing NDC solutions that work right across the industry. 

We’re both agile and practical in our development, and are focused on delivering useable functionality. Our goal: a solution that allows airlines to distribute all their offers to travel sellers worldwide, and for travel sellers and buyers to easily access and compare these offers, and serve travellers simply, quickly and accurately. 

Based on an agile approach, we will be making continuous enhancements, and gradually implement more sophisticated use cases in NDC, all the while catering to industry demands. Always making sure we are developing the solutions according to the priorities and objectives of our customers.

We are right on track with our product roadmap and the timelines that we have committed to. This year we will have the first version of the Amadeus Web Services product in production and ready for piloting - a solution that will aggregate NDC and non-NDC content. This means it will be possible to book an outbound flight through NDC and the inbound flight through the EDIFACT (the traditional GDS technology). We aim to add servicing capabilities and have it ready for global deployment in Q1 2019.

Our leading cloud-based user interface, Amadeus Selling Platform Connect, is being re-engineered to consume NDC content alongside other content sources and will be ready for deployment in Q2 2019.

We will also enhance other Amadeus solutions, including Amadeus cytric Travel & Expense – our flagship online booking and expense management offering for corporations – to consume NDC content.

Integrating NDC and non-NDC content, to better serve business and travelers

We’re committed to integrating content from all sources, giving airlines new ways to distribute their content, and travel sellers new ways to access rich, relevant and diverse content, faster than ever, via more channels and devices.

This will help sellers remain competitive, making it easier for them to sell travel in a more efficient and personalized way. Airlines will become digital retailers, and be able to distribute their offers using NDC or any other method, as they wish.

The Amadeus Travel Platform, which is the backbone to all our travel sellers’ solutions, is continuously evolving to give our customers the content, data and efficient payment capabilities that they need today. Today, Amadeus travel sellers can connect with 85% of the world’s airline carriers, 90 rail operators, 300-plus hotel chains and more than 230 tour operators. Only with Amadeus can travel sellers use the same platform as airlines do, mix and match air and non-air travel products, to differentiate their offer.  

Certified and ready

We’re Level 3 certified by IATA both as an IT provider and as an aggregator. This means we’re fully capable of supporting travel sellers, airlines and corporations, whenever they wish to adopt NDC. Whilst the certifications are important, the most important thing is to get bookings in production and deploy NDC at scale; and this is our key focus.

Our people come from diverse backgrounds, with extensive knowledge of the travel industry and unparalleled technology expertise. We have shown that we know how to develop and execute major travel technology projects such as our airline IT solutions (Altéa) and our move into open system and cloud technology. 

We have and we will continue to invest deeply in travel innovation. Since 2014, the European Commission has ranked Amadeus as Europe’s leading investor in R&D in travel and tourism. On average we invest 16% of our revenues in R&D, amounting to more than 760 million euros in 2017, and this continues to be a priority for us.

Lastly, we connect more airlines with travel sellers around the world than any other travel technology player.  Amadeus has the largest reach in every travel seller segment in every region including online travel companies, retail travel agencies and business travel agencies.

In addition to what we are doing on the aggregator side, you can find out more about what we’re doing on the IT side here.

Have a look at this video and visit our dedicated site to learn more about NDC and join us in our NDC journey.