Air Canada announces NDC strategy
Yesterday, Air Canada announced the launch of its New Distribution Capabilities (NDC) program. The program will offer a “competitive alternative to legacy distribution” and the airline is incentivising the transition away from legacy GDS bookings.
Mark Nasr, Senior Vice President of Products, Marketing and E-commerce for Air Canada explained the core reason behind the new program:
“Here’s the fundamental bottom line: We are already too far in terms of the gap between the capabilities that agencies have today, and the capabilities we want travel agencies to have. And that gap is only going to grow in the future much more substantially if we don’t do something about it now, because we are at the tipping point of a series of new methodologies in revenue management and pricing.”
According to the press release, the airline will offer four options for NDC access, each designed for a different agency business model and give agents access to Air Canada inventory, fares, ancillary services, ticketing, and digital products. Initially, the additional content will include domestic Basic fares and from 14 June the best available seat inventory and discounted ancillary pricing will be introduced. Further additions this summer include Flight Pass reservation and access to Air Canada’s continuous pricing.
As part of the airline’s shift towards direct or NDC bookings, Air Canada will be adding a per-ticket fee of $20-30 on bookings made through traditional EDIFACT channels from 14 June. The airline attributed this Distribution Cost Recovery (DCR) to addressing the “high expense” of legacy models. Furthermore, from 14 June, an NDC coupon incentive will be introduced to support agency transition. This will be applicable to NDC bookings made directly with an Air Canada NDC API connection or via select NDC certified technology partner and will be initially available in Canada before the global rollout.
The distribution landscape is changing with airlines pushing to free themselves from the constraints of legacy technology and empowering agents with access to the range of content that was previously available only through direct channels. For more on the recent developments in NDC and airline retailing see American Airlines’ NDC transition and the distribution evolution.
Article by Jess Brownlow