Westbury urges agents to embrace NDC

Westbury urges agents to embrace NDC
By admin

The New Distribution Capability (NDC) currently being piloted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the “most exciting thing” to happen to the travel industry for decades, according to the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA).

Chief executive Jayson Westbury told delegates at the Independent Travel Group Business Forum in Hong Kong at the weekend that concerns over the new method of distributing airline product are unfounded.

Rather than considering NDC as a “big black hole”, agents should instead embrace the opportunity to tap into the ancillary market which is currently problematic via the global distribution systems (GDS).

“Airlines have been trying to retail for decades,” Westbury said. “In the direct channel, they’re ok but what they’re not good at is trying to sell things other than seats through a travel agent.”

NDC will empower agents, he continued, by enabling them to tap into the burgeoning ancillary market which research firm PhocusWright has forecast will be worth $42 billion by 2015.

“Who doesn’t want a piece of that?” Westbury asked.

Instead, the issue is rather how to get IATA to deliver NDC sooner, with estimates of five years just too long, according to Westbury.

“This is a good thing for travel agents,” he said. “I’m not sponsored by IATA, I’m not on their payroll, in fact I argue with them from time to time, but on this one I am with them.”

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