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Considering the first or next step in NDC? There’s no time like the present!

Pioneers and early adopters are already seeing the full benefits of their investment; it’s time for others to get on board. Big or small, global, or regional, there’s a clear path forward for every airline, says Jim Davidson, Vice Chairman of Accelya. 


The technology transformation that is disrupting traditional distribution in the aviation industry is about two things. First, matching an airline’s best offer at a specific moment (price, bundle, etc.) with a potential customer looking to buy. Then, ensuring that an airline’s systems are set up to fulfil and settle that offer as efficiently as possible. 

Put like that, it sounds simple! With the technology finally becoming more broadly available, it is within the reach of every airline to begin reaping the benefits of NDC. Like any new technological journey, the NDC journey might not always be straightforward, but the destination is in sight and the benefits are clear.  

Now approaching its 12th birthday, NDC is living up to its promise of putting the airline in complete control of its commercial activity and expanding its options for delivering products and services to its customers. In other words, NDC raises the standard of value between the airline and the customer. 

As an early evangelist for NDC and Direct Connect before it, I’m encouraged to see the progress made and see so many airlines taking advantage of its potential. I’m also proud that Accelya has been at the forefront of this transformation and is recognized as the industry’s leader in enabling NDC transactions. Accelya are the leading provider in enabling this customer-centric technology producing >15bn offers per day, connecting with >50K active IATA agencies and enabling airlines to have up to 70% of their bookings coming via NDC.

Data from T2RL, an independent consultancy leader in travel technology and distribution strategy, shows that Accelya is the leading provider and market leader for NDC transactions, based on total passenger numbers for 2022.That privileged position gives us some insight into the development of NDC. In particular, the work that needs to be done to ensure the entire industry benefits because, for all the progress, there’s still a long way to go for many airlines. 

At present, the spoils of NDC are not being shared equally. The pioneers and early adopters (which includes Accelya customers like United Airlines and Qantas) are beginning to claim benefits including growing revenue through selling new ancillaries and providing continuous pricing content that wouldn’t have been possible through legacy technology. But others still need to start. And, to those, I say: get on board now, or you’ll miss the plane (so to speak) and be left behind. NDC has something to offer all airlines, large and small, global and regional, and neither size nor range restricts its benefits – improved product-to-customer match, better customer value ratio, increased revenue generation from happy customers, and more.  

Airlines that have adopted NDC are developing a competitive advantage by improving their ability to deliver quicker more products than ever – including customized services to travellers – through improved distribution channels with travel sellers and at lower distribution costs. As NDC technology advances, the competitive advantage gained between those who have embraced and implemented it and those who have not will only widen. NDC is essential for driving innovation in the aviation industry and will play a central role in shaping future changes, particularly in the area of digitization and retailing. 

In some quarters, NDC is still regarded merely as a technology standard. But it’s far more than just an industry-standard schema and technology application.  Done right, it’s a powerful and flexible gateway to the rich commercial environment, which enables airlines to make the critical leap to being genuine retailers, offering relevant and timely content to the traveler in the channel of their choice.  

In doing so, they open paths to new revenues and profitability. This state has been elusive for much of the industry, which needs to pull every lever to ensure it can invest in future innovation and services. 

Airlines seeking to embark upon or expand their path with NDC needn’t lock themselves into a sole supplier, and a walled garden of technology options. NDC facilitates a flexible approach that allows airlines to deploy a customized solution that suits their starting position and ambitions and get the best out of each solution. In addition, this also enables third-party content integration, creating an excellent passenger experience and more airline revenue opportunities.  


Accelya has built its NDC leadership on facilitating this flexible approach with an open and modular, end-to-end passenger platform already used by more than 200 airlines.  


And the really exciting news for airlines contemplating both their adoption of NDC and the implementation of ONE Order, the natural follow-up step, is that doing the former (NDC with Accelya) takes them a long way down the path they need to be on for the latter (ONE Order). 

By adopting NDC, airlines are putting in place the foundations for a modern, flexible technology stack that delivers a better service for travelers and a more efficient platform for airlines.  

It’s not just about technology, of course, but also about breaking down cultural and other barriers to adoption. Accelya prides itself on being the Airline First technology provider (free from the constraints of GDS and legacy thinking). So much of our focus has been driving NDC adoption within aviation, which will continue. But increasingly, we see there is even more to do. We are working closely with our airline partners to understand their needs and the needs of their travel-selling community. We are uniquely placed to help them understand the markets they operate in and how they create the best strategy to increase adoption.  

We will explore some of these themes in future blogs, as we continue to explore the full potential of NDC. But there’s no better time than now for those considering either the first step or the next step. Come and talk to us about how to make it happen. 

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