The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has been communicating with International Air Transport Association (IATA) on its proposed New Distribution Capability (NDC).
A decision of approval of Resolution 787, the foundation document for the NDC, is expected by early February, according to a source close to the process.
In a turnabout, Open Allies for Airfare Transparency has agreed to withdraw its opposition to Resolution 787 subject to the implementation of these conditions.
CLARIFICATION 6pmET: But Open Allies maintains its objections to NDC. The above statement has been corrected to reflect that nuance.
To address concerns and speed approval, IATA and Open Allies today filed a joint motion with DOT.
See the full text of the IATA statement, here:
The motion offers conditions that IATA and Open Allies recommend be included ... to add clarity to the letter and spirit of Resolution 787.
Specifically, the conditions clarify IATA’s commitment to the core principles of Resolution 787 regarding anonymous shopping, compatibility of existing data standards with the NDC standard and the voluntary nature of the standard. They supplement IATA’s June 2013 filing with DOT which sought to further define the original IATA submission.
"We are pleased that we were able to work together with our industry partners to strengthen the principles underlying Resolution 787. These include anonymous shopping, data privacy and a voluntary open data standard available to all current and future travel technology suppliers.
We urge DOT to approve Resolution 787 in a timely manner so that consumers may benefit from the greater choice and transparency in air travel shopping that the NDC standard will enable," said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
IATA, Open Allies and the industry partners it represents, as well as other stakeholders also agreed to establish an industry forum to support a collaborative approach on distribution issues going forward.
NDC is an IATA-led initiative to develop an XML-based data transmission standard for communications between airlines and travel agents. The NDC standard, once developed and available, will be open to any third party, intermediary, IT provider or non-IATA member, to implement and use.
VIEW THE JOINT MOTION, HERE:
Iata Open Allies Joint Motion Resolution 787 New Distribution Capability Airlines
COMPARE THE MOTION TO IATA'S JUNE 2013 PROPOSED CONDITIONS, HERE:
IATA's original June 2013 Resolution 787 language for NDC
KEY OUTTAKES FROM THE RESOLUTION
Backwards Compatibility/Other Standards
Any communications or message standards or protocols developed under Resolution 787 shall be open standards, meaning useable by distributors of air transportation and intermediaries in the distribution of air transportation, including CRSs and other aggregators, on a non-discriminatory basis.
Approval of Resolution 787 does not constitute approval of any agreement to prohibit individual IATA member airlines or groups of such airlines from continuing to utilize any communication or message protocol, including existing standards.
Nothing in the approval of Resolution 787 shall be deemed to be an approval of either a restriction on backwards compatibility or a restriction on development of a communications or messaging standard that is not backward compatible.
Further, nothing in Resolution 787 shall be construed to inhibit the ability of distributors of air transportation to use other standards, including existing standards, in combination with any standard developed under Resolution 787.
Notwithstanding any language in Section 1.2.4 of Resolution 787, airlines and technology service providers are free to pursue backward compatibility of Resolution 787 communications or message standards or protocols based on their particular business needs.
This approval does not in any way address the issue of data ownership and specifically does not include approval of Section 1.2.7 of Resolution 787 or of any other reference to ownership in the Resolution.
Scope of Resolution 787
Approval of Resolution 787 does not constitute approval of any agreement among IATA member airlines regarding any method or business model of distributing air transportation, nor restrict the use of any channels available for the distribution of air transportation, including indirect distribution by other than airlines.Any future agreement among IATA member airlines regarding business models for the distribution of air transportation shall not be implemented without prior compliance with any applicable government approval or notification process.
Approval of IATA Resolution 787 does not constitute approval of any agreement among IATA member airlines to require the disclosure by any passenger of personal information of any kind.
Use of Other Data Transmissions Standards
Approval of IATA Resolution 787 does not constitute approval of any agreement among IATA member airlines to require the use of any particular data transmission standard(s).
GDSs line up to respond
Amadeus has released a statement saying that it "welcomes the agreement reached between Open Allies for Airfare Transparency and IATA on the conditions that both organisations recommend be included in the valuation and potential approval by DOT of Resolution 787."
We are pleased that, with this agreement, IATA has responded to certain industry concerns and that such conditions make it clear that a DOT approval of Resolution 787 does NOT constitute:
1. An approval of a specific method or business model for distributing air content, or of any restriction on the use of any distribution channel
2. An approval of any agreement among IATA member airlines to require the disclosure by any passenger of personal information of any kind.
3. An approval of any agreement among IATA member airlines to require the use of any particular data transmission standard (s).
4. An approval of any reference to ownership of data in Resolution 787
Additionally, the agreed conditions clarify that any standards developed under Resolution 787 shall be open standards, that Resolution 787 will not restrict what could be done with the existing standards and that any restriction on backward compatibility will be removed.
Open Allies and its members –including Amadeus- are committed to the principles of transparency, choice, competition, privacy, and innovation in the air travel marketplace. We are encouraged that IATA has engaged with the broader travel industry to address varius concerns raised, and in doing so the industry is moving towards a solution that will benefit all.
We look forward to engaging in the next steps with IATA in order to establish a new industry forum that will govern the setting of standards in the distribution value chain. Should the DOT approve Resolution 787 with all of the agreed conditions, Amadeus will also consider its formal position to the Resolution. We now urge IATA to ensure that the agreed conditions are reflected in an amended Resolution 787, to be approved at this year's World Passenger Symposium.
Amadeus has engaged consistently with IATA on NDC from the beginning and will continue to do so. Furthermore, we are working with a number of airline customers on delivering the functionality envisioned by the industry’s ambition and we are ready to play a leading role in future development. With our scale and leadership position in the industry we believe that we are uniquely positioned to do that.”
Apparent victory for critics
While early reaction is still coming in, the IATA concessions appear to be a victory for its long-standing critics, such as Business Travel Coalition (BTC). In a statement, BTC's chair Kevin Mitchell said:
"The agreed limitations effectively address all the objections and apprehensions that travel industry participants, interested third party experts and consumers communicated to DOT in the public docket regarding Resolution 787, and the associated New Distribution Capability, or NDC.
“If DOT chooses to approve Resolution 787, with the detailed limitations that Open Allies and IATA have negotiated, then BTC will withdraw its objections filed with DOT on behalf of hundreds of government, university and corporate travel managers, travel management companies, industry associations and other stakeholders from nineteen countries, who represent millions of travelers."
The Travel Technology Association, whose members include online travel companies (OTCs) and global distribution systems (GDSs), issued the following statement:
“Travel Tech supports the conditions and compromise between IATA and Open Allies and looks forward to working with all parties as we move forward.”
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