The US Department of Transportation today finally gave its approval to a global framework for a massive technological initiative proposed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA): Resolution 787.
The agreement to the outlined principles will give the go-ahead for IATA's New Distribution Capability.
A spokesperson at IATA tells Tnooz:
“We think it is excellent news for air travelers, airlines, travel agents and travel technology providers."
The DOT issued a statement saying that its
"tentative approval includes several safeguards specifically designed to protect privacy, ensure competition and consumer choice, and make clear the voluntary nature of the standard and its availability to all airline industry participants."
When IATA initially submitted its proposal, a number of commenting parties raised concerns that for consumers to take advantage of the new system they would need to provide personal information that could create privacy issues and undermine the public benefits of the proposal.
IATA, together with many of the parties that had initially raised objections to the proposal, later filed a joint motion asking the Department to approve the proposal subject to new conditions addressing consumer privacy and various other concerns that had been raised.
The Department’s tentative decision acknowledges these steps and further strengthens safeguards to protect consumers.
The Department has added several consumer safeguards ensuring that those shopping for air travel could not be required to disclose personal information, and specifying that airlines and ticket agents would be obligated to follow their published privacy policies on the sharing and storing of personal information.
The Department also makes clear that consumers’ ability to shop anonymously must not be undermined by new data transmission standards for communications and marketing practices.
Although an airline may request that consumers provide certain information voluntarily, consumers cannot be required to provide such information in order to receive an airfare or ancillary product quote.
In addition, all of the Department’s regulations regarding carrier and ticket agents’ displays of fares and ancillary products would continue to apply.
The Business Travel Coalition, which was one of the organizations requesting amendations to IATA's proposal, had this to say today:
"DOT has protected competition and consumers by imposing several important conditions on its approval of Resolution 787.
Likewise, consumers will benefit from greater price transparency by the Department’s proposal to require airlines to provide real-time pricing of core ancillary services (e.g., for checked bags) wherever they sell their tickets.
However, DOT must require that ancillary fee information is disseminated to travel agents in an efficient manner that is truly usable by agents and we urge the agency to ensure that consumers can purchase these services from travel agents at the same time as an airline ticket."
UPDATE TO FOLLOW
EARLIER FROM TNOOZ:What travel agents would see under the New Distribution Capability [SIMULATED IMAGES]
The real NDC: Decoding the planned (r)evolution in airline distribution by IATA and airlines
Amadeus says IATA plan to modernize distribution is no panacea