Travelport is first GDS to receive Level 3 NDC certification from IATA

Travelport became the first GDS to be certified as a Level 3 aggregater under IATA’s New Distribution Capability initiative.

NDC is intended to create a new distribution standard for the airline industry that would facilitate merchandising, personalization and other innovations.

Travelport will work with airline technology specialist Farelogix to implement the first such NDC connection with a major global airline, which will be revealed “soon,” the companies said.

Travelport also worked with Meon Valley Travel, based in Petersfield, UK, to prepare for the certification.

Travelport was the first travel commerce platform to be granted Aggregater Level 1 certification for its GDS and IT Provider Level 2 status by IATA in November 2016 and February 2017, respectively. Level 3 is the highest certification IATA awards to companies that can demonstrate the ability to execute full offer and order management.

Derek Sharp, senior vice president and managing director of air commerce for Travelport, noted that the company already connects travel buyers to more than 280 ancillary products through ATPCO.

It also has an “extensive” set of existing API connections and tools for critical workflows, servicing and synchronization, he said.

Travelport’s latest NDC certification is something of a watershed moment for the evolution of NDC. When the idea was first introduced in 2013, the GDS companies saw it as a means of direct distribution that would bypass their systems.

Their suspicions were not wholly without merit. Some airlines that backed the initiative did have GDS bypass in mind, and NDC’s introduction was accompanied by a chorus of criticism aimed at the GDS model.

But the vitriol has ceased, and the GDSs have become an integral part of NDC’s development.

Yanik Hoyles, IATA’s director of the NDC program, said:

“GDSs are a fundamental business partner for NDC to drive significant volumes. For that reason, we welcome Travelport as the first GDS to become NDC Level 3-certified as an aggregater. As a certified aggregater, Travelport will now be able to bring NDC to their existing customer base and broaden the scope to a wider range of airlines.”

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