International Airlines Group's shift to a New Distribution Capability-led connection to intermediaries pretty much ended any lasting resistance from tech providers last year.
Sabre now admits that its previous stance of questioning the motives behind the new distribution standard - it was one of the more vociferous opponents of the program - came to end as it became apparent that a number of major airlines were going to forge ahead with the IATA-led project.
U.K., Ireland and Benelux managing director, Eric Hallerberg, says despite concerns over the potential shift in the commercial model that NDC could create, global distribution systems such as Sabre needed to find a way to push forward and beyond the rhetoric that dogged the first few years of the project.
"British Airways pushed it [NDC] along greatly but we were going to do it anyway," he says, illustrating that a detente had come about as intermediaries realised that benefits to overhauling the old model outweighed earlier worries amongst the old guard of airline distribution.
It was, essentially, a domino effect following Lufthansa Group and IAG's firmly stated their support for an NDC-led ecosystem.
Hallerberg believes around 12 major airlines around the world are "making a significant investment" to shift their distribution strategy to one based on NDC-based connections to intermediaries.
Sabre, which has recently achieved NDC Level 3 accreditation, is "perfectly positioned" to push the new agenda forward as airlines look to more retail-led models around merchandizing and ancillary services, he claims.
The emphasis has now changed, Hallerberg says, with airlines being urged to fully grasp what NDC can achieve in terms of the two-way flow of information between consumer (via intermediaries) and carriers.
For example, fare classes are usually filed through ATPCO on a fairly small set of parameters (perhaps no more than 25 or so) - but NDC should allow airlines to up the volume of ticket types to a far higher number.
Hallerberg says Sabre Airline Solutions, which hosts the reservation and booking platforms of many carriers, is capable of sending out hundreds of personalized fare offers - but only if the carriers have shifted their own pricing strategy to allow it.
Sabre will run both NDC- and ATPCO-filed fare classes in tandem for the foreseeable future, he says.