Confused by some of the technical terms associated with New Distribution Capability (NDC)? Use this glossary to get up to speed on the jargon linked to the airline industry’s new data exchange technology.
ancillary services: the extra perks and services airlines offer (e.g., seat selection, priority boarding, checked baggage, etc.) that may be included in the main offer or as separate services; NDC aims to make it simple for airlines to sell these extras through travel agents, not just on their websites.
API: application programming interface; a way for two or more computer programs to “talk” with each other; APIs make it possible for airlines, travel agencies, and other partners to exchange real-time data and offer personalized travel options – core aims of NDC.
direct channel: when airlines sell their products and services directly to travelers through their websites and mobile apps.
dynamic pricing: a pricing strategy the airlines use to modify fares in real time based on demand, availability, and market conditions. NDC APIs enable airlines to communicate and share real-time data with travel agents and other distributors, which is essential for adjusting prices on the fly.
EDIFACT: stands for Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport; a well-established computer language that travel suppliers and GDSs have used to distribute travel content; because of its limitations in transferring rich content, EDIFCACT hinders airlines’ ability to sell and promote their products.
GDS: global distribution system; a computerized network used by travel agencies and online booking platforms to access and book travel-related services, such as airline reservations, hotel accommodations, and car rentals.
IATA: International Air Transport Association; the trade group for the airline industry that launched NDC to improve how airline content is distributed.
indirect channels: when airlines use other distribution channels, such as GDSs and other intermediaries, to sell their products and services; these intermediaries connect to airlines’ NDC APIs to access and display offers, fares, and ancillaries.
Minimum Marketable Product (MMP): an evolving framework created by American Express Global Business Travel that describes the capabilities needed to make NDC work for business travel.
NDC: stands for New Distribution Capability; an IATA-led initiative that employs the XML data exchange technology to improve how airlines sell and market their products; enables airlines to create and distribute relevant offers to the customers regardless of the distribution channel.
offer and order management processes: involves tailoring offers to match individual traveler preferences and needs (offer management) and efficiently handling bookings and transactions for the chosen options (order management); these processes have become more sophisticated with NDC implementation.
rich content: more detailed, visual information that airlines can provide to travel sellers and other intermediaries to promote their product offerings; goes beyond traditional fare and schedule information to include videos, images, seat maps, comprehensive descriptions, etc., for an enhanced air shopping experience.
XML: stands for Extensible Markup Language: a newer data exchange language that supports rich content and retailing. NDC uses XML to enhance how airlines promote and sell their products.
If you’re interested in learning more, here’s how we’re striving to make NDC work for business travel.