Distributing confidence via NDC

To boost travelers’ confidence about boarding planes, booking rooms and hosting events, travel companies are focused on delivering better and safer end-to-end experiences. By supporting the distribution of more personalized offers and rich content–which could include health and safety information–IATA New Distribution Capability (NDC) can help airlines, agencies and corporations provide the enhanced transparency, responsiveness and personalization needed to strengthen traveler confidence.

Despite COVID-19 disruptions, Sabre continues to make steady progress going beyond NDC. As an aggregator, we have expanded access to NDC offers from additional airlines; made point of sale enhancements; and continue to participate in industry forums to help evolve the NDC standards.

NDC remains one of our corporate priorities as an enabler of our vision to power the leading marketplace for personalized travel.

Expanding Access to Distinctive Airline Content

We know agencies and corporations want to maximize access to leading content. To that end, we continue to expand the pool of NDC offers available through the Sabre GDS marketplace. In terms of our Beyond NDC airline partners, NDC content from United Airlines and Singapore Airlines has recently been integrated. Production testing of NDC offers from American Airlines has also started and close collaboration with Finnair and Qantas Airways continues as we advance technical development work.

In addition to our Beyond NDC airline partners, we are discussing NDC with numerous leading airlines, including: Emirates, Etihad, IAG, Lufthansa and Qatar, among others. Commercial negotiations must be completed before technical development begins.

“I am grateful to our partners who, while facing headwinds of their own, remain engaged and instrumental to helping us make progress,” said Kathy Morgan, VP, Channel Delivery. “Our test-and-learn approach is bearing fruit as we expand access to content and add capabilities. NDC is one of many elements of the Sabre platform propelling us toward our vision for travel that incorporates greater personalization and better experiences.”

Accessing NDC offers through Sabre Red 360 and GetThere

To access this expanded selection of NDC content, we deployed additional capabilities in our point of sale application, Sabre Red 360, for select agencies. NDC offers appear seamlessly alongside ATPCO and low–cost carrier (LCC) content, making it easy for travel consultants to compare options and help travelers make informed choices. Learn how easy it is for travel consultants to shop, price, book and fulfill NDC offers in Sabre Red 360.

The spike in voluntary and involuntary itinerary changes in the wake of COVID-19 has underscored the importance of servicing and the need for scalable solutions that preserve productivity. From the outset, we have emphasized the importance of supporting end-to-end workflows. Our void and refund capabilities will help to round out the foundational workflow that agencies need.

Similar to Sabre Red 360, NDC offers are live in our online corporate booking solution, GetThere. With only a few clicks, corporate travelers can make policy–compliant NDC bookings that travel management companies then easily fulfill and ticket. Sabre is exploring ways to incorporate additional health and safety information in GetThere, and to help corporations track and redeem unused tickets that have accumulated during the pandemic.

Building with APIs

The NDC capabilities that Sabre Red 360 and GetThere users are testing originate in our collection of REST/JSON Offer and Order APIs. API users, including online travel agencies (OTAs), often operate proprietary point of sale applications. These customers can use the Sabre Offer and Order API suite to enable the shopping, pricing, booking, fulfillment and cancellation pre-fulfillment of NDC offers and orders. An enhanced version of the Bargain Finder Max (BFM) Air Shopping API integrates and normalizes ATPCO, LCC and NDC content into a single call.

Progress Through Partnership

Bringing NDC to life is an endurance race that cannot be won alone. Engaging with our Beyond NDC partners through testing activities and Customer Advisory Board meetings helps us optimize our solutions. The discussions, insights and partnership keep us energized and focused on delivering scalable solutions.

In 2021, we secured IATA NDC Level 4 certification as an aggregator, reaching this milestone in collaboration with Beyond NDC partners, United Airlines and Flight Centre. The Level 4 certification signals our ability to support advanced criteria for Offer and Order Management messages. It also provides an industry-recognized proof point of our progress.

Learn more about our progress on the airline IT side of the NDC equation here.