American Airlines has signed new multi-year agreements with the three major global distribution systems—Amadeus, Sabre and Travelport—the airline announced Monday. The new deals will allow American to provide expanded New Distribution Capability offerings to customers beginning in 2023.
The carrier already provides NDC-enabled content through Amadeus and Travelport and will begin to do so through Sabre in early 2023, according to American.
Corporates will be able to access American's NDC content through booking tools and travel management companies through those GDSs as well as directly through American's channels.
“The agencies that are connected to those GDSs that connect to that content … will have access to it,” American managing director of airline retailing Neil Geurin told BTN. “That content can feed corporations' booking tools or go directly to the corporate at the agency selling directly.”
Due to the new deals, there will be “lots of NDC content that isn’t available today,” Geurin said, adding that his team has been working on this “for a long time, almost a decade,” giving American new abilities to market and to retail its products and services.
“We haven’t really had that flexibility the last few years. This is the first step down that path,” Geurin said. “Connecting our agency partners with NDC will be the critical next step so we can get new content to them, and certainly existing content as well.”
The new options “coming soon” will include new types of fares, bundles of products and services, different ancillary products and “better ways to service tickets.”
As for specific differences, Geurin cited seat maps in the booking path. He also noted the potential for avoiding selling services to corporate customers that they already have earned via status.
“Another thing that NDC will let us do is to not put an offer in front of the customers that don’t need to pay extra money for something they’ve already earned,” he said. “We are excited about that because it’s an easy way for the corporate customer to save money and have a more rewarding, fulfilling experience with us.”
American also will be able to set sellable content levels with each agency and also can restrict unique content to its own channels.
“We are still working through what that might look like down the road,” Geurin said. “We are a ways out on that, but that may open up new opportunities for corporate customers. We’ll look at things like that in 2023 and 2024 and see where we head from there.”