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An initiative impacting the entire ecosystem

We’ve seen NDC a lot of attention over the years, which is primarily because it’s a multi-faceted industry initiative that is impacting the entire ecosystem. At its core, NDC is a technical initiative associated to modernizing the underlying technology of airline distribution from EDIFACT based messaging to interactive, XML messaging. But, it’s also been used in a commercial context by some airlines to introduce new models associated to accessing content. In the early days of NDC, this dual definition, or interpretation, of NDC created confusion–and received a lot of focus at the industry level. 

As the industry gained more clarity around NDC, better understanding what NDC is and what it isn’t, the focus on NDC still remains high, but the conversations have shifted to understanding the impact of utilizing these new technical standards to enhance the flexibility that airlines have to sell and merchandise their products, but also in how to make that available to third-party sellers.

Conversations around NDC are shifting

There’s a lot of work to do in understanding how you operationalize this, which is where the conversations are headed. We’re still very much in the midst of this journey, and I expect to see a sustained attention at this level for quite some time.

Additionally, IATA has a vision that has been very clearly communicated around a move to offer and order based retailing. Offers and orders is a basic retailing framework that exists in multiple different industries, and so when you think about it in the context of IATA and the airline space, the whole offer order vision is tightly coupled to NDC.

In fact, NDC adoption is the first step to that journey to an offer and order based travel ecosystem. In the way that NDC is implemented, it requires an offer order framework to ensure that there is integrity between the airlines offer and the subsequent order that it is created–it is literally unbreakable.

NDC is central to Sabre’s retailing strategy

NDC is about modernizing the underlying distribution technology to support new types of products and retailing strategies and enabling agencies to have access to even greater depth and breadth of content than ever before.

When we started our NDC program we named it “Beyond NDC”– and we named it that for a very intentional reason–it’s because we believe the focus must be on going beyond technical standards themselves to ensuring that we are enabling airlines to sell their products in the way that they want to sell them, but doing so in a way that delivers the integration and operational efficiencies that our buyers expect.

We believe that this is what it takes to capture the full opportunity at NDC and personalized retailing

Sabre’s approach to delivering NDC has been different from the inception

We started by taking an ecosystem view, not just an airline view, to ensure that we deliver NDC in a way that delivered value to suppliers and buyers.

We established our NDC customer advisory board very early on to drive these ecosystem discussions and to gain alignment on the prioritization of our roadmap to deliver the most valuable capabilities first.

We also started from a position that the solution had to scale both in our airline NDC IT solution as well as the integration of NDC content into the Sabre GDS, and we have been at the forefront of pushing the scalability discussion at the industry level as well as with the airlines that we engage with.

And on the distribution and IT side, in fact, we have some of the fastest shopping responses times in the industry.

Lastly, we’ve taken a true end-to-end view on how we need to deliver NDC content, which has been recognized by our customers, through feedback that we receive about how positively they evaluate our solution efficacy.

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