If XML standards in the travel industry were a ballgame, this would be Bobblehead Day.
Well, consider that representatives from Travelport GDS, Sabre and Amadeus met with the Open Axis Group Tuesday to sort out whether the GDSs will join or collaborate with Open Axis.
The OpenAxis Group's stated mission is to create XML distribution standards for its airline members, and the GDSs apparently are busy crafting their own standards for ancillary services.
Below is a Farelogix video, part of a looming Ask the Question series, featuring talking head and CEO Jim Davidson giving his take on what the GDSs are up to. He likens their efforts to a seemingly untenable scenario which would have the hotel industry endeavoring to create XML standards for the rental-car industry.
For context, you should know that Farelogix is an allied member of the Open Axis Group, which is licensing Farelogix XML schema as the foundation for the group's development of its own XML standards.
Also, Farelogix, which was born as an alternative to GDS distribution, had a dispute with Sabre in which Sabre ended up terminating a developer's agreement that Farelogix had with Sabre. The U.S. Dept. of Justice at one point was looking into the matter out of anticompetitive concerns.
And, the hard feelings between Sabre and Farelogix may also be raw for another reason.
American Airlines, for one, says it is beginning to offer travel agencies its ancillary services through Farelogix and if the GDSs want to access these services for their travel agency customers, then the GDSs would have to get them through Farelogix.
Now, that would be a turn of events.
Anyway, a Sabre spokeswoman says the GDSs' meeting this week with Open Axis Group "went fine," although no decisions have been made about future steps.
Open Axis Group Executive Director Jim Young characterizes the meeting with representatives from the three GDS companies "as a very productive conversation."
Young says he perceived "real interest" from the GDS representatives, who were eager to learn more about what process Open Axis Group will use to establish standards.
Young says the GDSs pledged to provide more feedback about their potential involvement with the group at the end of August.
On the issue of whether the GDSs are developing their own XML standards for airlines, Young says they apparently haven't reached a decision on what to do with the XML standard they are working on.
Still, from the tone of the Farelogix video, I'm not expecting things between the Open Axis Group and the GDSs to get all warm and fuzzy anytime soon.