Written on 6th February 2019

Travelport has completed onboarding of first wave of NDC travel agency partners

Updated on 06 Feb 2019 @ 16:00

Travelport, the leading travel commerce platform, has completed the onboarding of the first group of travel agencies to receive access to NDC content.

In October 2018, we saw the first live booking using NDC content through Travelport's Smartpoint desktop. To ensure NDC works for all parts of the travel ecosystem, Travelport has implemented its booking solution with a wide variety of agencies of different sizes, including TAG.

Following the successful onboarding, Travelport will continue to refine its NDC booking solutions and follow-up with further Smartpoint enhancements, along with an API NDC connection channel through Travelport's Trip Service API mid-year.

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Updated on: 07 Dec 2017 @ 16:17

Further to our recent message regarding the British Airways & Iberia £8/$10 charge, we are delighted to advise that after continued negotiations, The Appointment Group (TAG) has reached an agreement with British Airways and Iberia enabling its customers to avoid paying the distribution technology charge. 

TAG fully understands the airline distribution landscape is changing and is committed to working with our GDS and airline partners to ensure we are able to continue to offer our clients the best of content and competitive fares now, and into the future.  TAG will continue to invest heavily in technology in 2018 to ensure we remain at the forefront of this ever changing industry.

Our GDS partner, Travelport, is close to becoming Level 3 NDC certified with IATA and hope to provide us with a seamless booking solution by Q2 of 2018.

As more airlines choose to adopt NDC as their preferred distribution method, we will be able to access all of this content for our clients.  In time, NDC will be the future of how airlines distribute their content and we hope it will bring with it many benefits for you, our clients, particularly in the Corporate travel sector.

If you have any queries relating to this matter, or any other, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your dedicated agent.

The Appointment Group

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Published on: 31 Oct 2017 @ 09:51

You may have heard talk in the press regarding NDC (New Distribution Capability) and the proposal regarding a surcharge being levied by IAG (British Airways & Iberia in particular) on any booking made via a GDS (Global Distribution System).

We feel it necessary to update and advise our clients regarding The Appointment Group’s position to date and explain a little more about NDC and how it affects us. 

NDC is the hottest topic in our industry at the moment and further to Lufthansa introducing a €16 surcharge for bookings made via the GDS back in September 2015, British Airways and Iberia are now following a similar path.  However, at this present time we believe none of the airlines are capable of offering full functionality via the NDC connection, to the same level of capability as we currently benefit from via the GDS.  One example of this would be the ability to issue and change our own e-tickets.  This is a major function that via NDC airlines would look to take in-house, effectively slowing down our current processes.

We at TAG, like the majority of our competitors, believe that the GDS at this time, is currently the best method of distribution for airline content and continues to offer a wide variety of products.  Utilising a GDS is presently the most advanced method of accessing fare content across all airlines and gives us the ability to compare options for you across different airlines.

Our industry body, IATA, are pushing forward that NDC is the best method of distribution for the future and the majority of airlines will likely look to this as their primary method in the years to come, to potentially save on costs they have to pay the GDS’s to host their content right now.  There will be, once the airlines have caught up, lots of fantastic advantages to using NDC – however, at this stage we feel that the offering is limited and would likely bring hindrance, not help to our client base and the type of niche travel that we as a TMC look after.

As of 1st November, BA and Iberia will introduce a surcharge of £8 per fare component (this will vary per booking, depending on the route and amount of flights involved) for bookings made via a GDS which is our current primary method.  Our primary GDS provider, Travelport, are actually leading the way with NDC and are the first GDS to have their certification with IATA and also a prototype booking solution that can be used to avoid the fee.  At this stage however, Travelport and IAG are still in in-depth talks regarding their future agreements.  We are confident however that a positive agreement will be imminent.

Please be assured that TAG are in constant contact with both IAG and Travelport on this pressing issue and would like to also assure our clients that as soon as Travelport have the green light from IAG, they will be working hard to roll out their NDC booking platform as soon as possible, by Q1 of 2018 is the potential roll-out date, which our agents in turn will then be able to utilise where appropriate for our client base to avoid the surcharge whenever possible. 

During this interim period, we will have access to an online portal where we can make bookings that avoid the surcharge, however due to the relatively basic capabilities of the website, it may not be the most viable option to utilise for complex bookings and therefore we appreciate your understanding in this matter.

We will be sure to let you know as soon as there is any further news.

As always, if there are any questions arising from this communication please do not hesitate to get in touch with your dedicated contact at TAG to discuss further.

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