Sabre is hailing its “strategic relationships” formed with American Airlines and a number of global travel management companies (TMCs) as further proof of its commitment to driving the New Distribution Capability technology standard forward.
The distribution giant announced the airline as well as American Express Global Business Travel, Carlson Wagonlit Travel and Flight Centre Travel Group as launch partners for its Beyond NDC program.
Sabre began talking about Beyond NDC earlier this year, describing the IATA technology standard as a “promising start” but stating its intention to go further in terms of innovation.
On a media call, Sabre vice president of NDC Kathy Morgan says the purpose of Beyond NDC is to make sure we “get the solutions right.”
Experts in the corporate travel segment from both TMCs and large corporations have expressed concerns about the work needed to implement NDC-based solutions into the current travel management processes.
They have also been worried about the slow rate of progress on the initiative and seeming lack of industry collaboration.
Sabre says that Beyond NDC is a collaborative approach, which will mean the development, integration and testing of technology based around the standard. It adds that the four partners, and others to be announced going forward, will get involved in designing solutions as well as in the testing phases.
John Bukowski, director of global content and distribution strategy at Amex GBT, says there’s a need to start somewhere but that NDC solutions will “evolve over time and collaboration will get us there faster.”
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NDC developments have been a lot of talk and less action in recent years leading to the frustration from many camps over its progress.
Distribution rivals Amadeus and Travelport have their own NDC roadmaps with some of the same TMCs participating in pilots.
Amadeus announced NDC-X, its own innovation program around the standard, in February and has been working with Flight Centre on the offline agency element.
Travelport also set out its vision for NDC in February saying it would launch a point-of-sale application in the second half of this year with NDC-enabled content alongside traditional GDS content.