After all of the sound and fury, the US Department of Transportation has given final approval to IATA Resolution 787.
Not surprisingly, it is a decision that IATA welcomes wholeheartedly, considering that 787 is the “foundation document” for the airline industry association’s New Distribution Capability (NDC).
IATA director general and CEO, Tony Tyler said that DOT’s approval is “a very exciting development for air travellers, airlines, intermediaries, and for competition.”
The final approval leaves unchanged DOT’s tentative decision approving Resolution 787, which occurred on May 21, 2014. In the tentative decision DOT stated that, “Comparison shopping under the current system is generally limited strictly to comparing fares, and it is difficult to make price quality comparisons of different carriers’ product offerings … The modernized communication standards and protocols and the marketing innovations that [Resolution 787] could facilitate would be pro-competitive and in the public interest.”
In both its tentative and final approvals, DOT accepted the conditions proposed by IATA and Open Allies for Airfare Transparency to ensure that no traveller is required to supply personal information to receive an airfare offer (“anonymous shopping”); that the standard remains voluntary and that each airline is free to choose its own data exchange methodologies.
As Tyler sees it, “Since Resolution 787 was adopted by the Passenger Services Conference, IATA has emphasized that NDC will be a voluntary standard and that no passenger will be required to divulge personal information to receive an offer. We are pleased to reaffirm those commitments.”
In DOT’s view, Resolution 787 will “create modern, industry-wide technical standards and protocols for data transmission throughout the distribution chain, promoting efficiency, cost savings, and innovation through a real-time exchange of price and service information among carriers, travel agents, customers, and other parties, such as web-based aggregators.”
Furthermore, “the use of common technical standards could facilitate the marketplace development of distribution practices and channels that would make it easier for consumers to compare competing carriers’ fares and ancillary products across multiple distribution channels, make purchasing more convenient, allow carriers to customize service and amenity offers, and increase transparency, efficiency, and competition.”
Said IATA’s Tyler, “With the path now clear to begin to implement NDC on a voluntary basis, the next step is the release of the first comprehensive set of NDC end-to-end schemas, so the travel industry can start defining how to best take advantage of the new capability. We look forward to working with all stakeholders to advance the standard for transmission of airline product offers. This will enable travel sellers and consumers to have access to all of an airline’s products and offerings and to compare the full value of the product offer, not just the base fare.”