Shooting for the stars on our NDC journey

Gianni Pisanello

VP, NDC-X Program, Amadeus

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Earlier this year we announced our new NDC-X program – with the lofty aim of going ‘stratospheric’. This program is dedicated to drive the industrialization of NDC and ensure its success for all travel players. In terms of progress, I’m happy to say we’re well on our way to the stars.

This is a critical moment in terms of the development of the NDC standard. As we continue to progress on our journey, we are continuously ensuring that the development of an NDC standard responds to both travel seller and airline requirements and has the right economics to drive investment.

Throughout 2017, we had in-depth discussions with airlines and travel sellers looking at NDC from the angle of all players: Full Service Airlines, Corporations, Travel agencies, TMCs, OTAs and Metas, to decide how we can best move forward with NDC. The industry is both enthusiastic and apprehensive at the same time. But this is normal when embarking on large scale industry changes such as this one.

NDC-X milestones in the first half of the year

In addition to enabling airlines such as Finnair who are leading in the NDC space, we have made significant advances and officially announced several key airline and travel seller partners who are closely working with us on NDC. These include:

We are actively working with other partners, and more announcements will come during the year.

In this first half, Amadeus was the first to achieve level 3 certificationon the latest version of the NDC standard. Version 18.1, generated from the new data model, is a key milestone towards the industrialization of the NDC standard. Additionally, Amadeus recently achieved IATA Level 3 NDC certification as an aggregator, becoming one of the first providers to achieve dual IATA Level 3 NDC certification as an aggregator and an IT provider.

But this is only just the beginning

Later this year we expect to have the first version of the Amadeus Web Services product that will aggregate NDC and non-NDC content in production for piloting by online travel agencies. It will then be industrialized and enhanced with servicing capabilities with the aim to have it ready for global deployment in Q1 2019. These are critical capabilities that agencies need in order to enable true industrialization, such as the ability to change tickets, or to add ancillaries after booking. 

This means that we will be working together with partner airlines and travel agencies to enable a full end to end workflow using the IATA NDC standard.

Our leading cloud-based user interface, Amadeus Selling Platform Connect, will be enhanced to consume NDC content and will be ready for deployment in the middle of 2019. 

This is all part of the wider evolution of our GDS platform into the Amadeus Travel Platform. A robust platform built on open systems, it will harnesses intelligent use of data and integrate new interfaces, front end solutions and architectures. It brings together all relevant content – including air, hotel, car, and insurance – from any source to be distributed via any channel or device, allowing comparisons and bookings to happen in a uniform and transparent way through Amadeus.

The first evolution of our platform is underway and will give travel sellers access to more content. It will also give airlines the flexibility to distribute their products and offers however they choose.

This is just the first steps along a journey to greater digitization that the entire industry is on, both airlines and travel sellers. The possibilities for innovating on top of NDC are potentially endless and ultimately it could revolutionize how travel is bought and sold in the future. We’re excited about this journey, the partners we’re working with, and what’s in the pipeline for later this year!