Kathy Morgan Sabre Travel Network VP of NDC Share Assistant editor Dawit Habtemariam: What's most challenging about your role as VP of New Distribution Capability? The sheer technology shift. If you think about all the things the [global distribution system] does: the volume, the number of shops, the way content is managed. Sabre is rewiring all that for NDC. Air [content] has this ongoing state that has to be managed until the traveler is physically on that airplane. Schedule changes, voluntary changes, irregular operations—the underlying technology has to keep hold [of all that] until it is consumed. What role did you play in Sabre's Farelogix bid and acquisition, and what's the plan? I was part of the team going through the early discovery phases when we had discussions on whether this partnership made sense, when [the two companies] were evaluating each other. [Now], I am responsible for leading the acquisition process. We are going through the regulatory process to try to get the deal closed. The acquisition accelerated a plan Sabre has been working on: How do we drive and unlock next-generation retailing, distribution and fulfillment? We want [Farelogix] to continue to be an independent, disruptive brand post-acquisition. We are very committed to continuing to support the GDS- and [passenger services system]-agnostic approach that Farelogix has taken. NDC has the potential to redistribute value across the chain, and you've said changes in commercial models would follow suit. Can you elaborate?How do you move to a world aligned with value? That really should be the basis of commercialization. The most interesting conversation, putting commercials aside, is how [to] unlock the value, and that's where corporations have a strong voice. Buyers want additional value, whether it's bundling that gives the type of product they need, more flexibility, more online servicing capabilities that may exist in an airline's direct channels that haven't been enabled through the GDS or corporate booking tools. Corporate buyers are doing a great job of saying, "This is what value looks like to me." Critics say travel management companies haven't seized the opportunity to reset their financial relationships with GDS partners. Do you think this is fair? It's misinformed. NDC was led initially by IATA, driven by airlines primarily focused on shopping and booking because that's the opportunity to unlock value. The standards were not fit for purpose outside a direct channel B2C environment. They didn't contemplate the indirect channel. Sabre takes content from thousands of sources, not just airlines but hotel, car companies and rail. We put in a marketplace where you can comparison shop, where you can put all the elements you need. You have to understand where NDC fits. After you bring all that content in and you book it, there are so many rules around if it's corporate travel. NDC doesn't contemplate any of that. That's what the GDS does, so we have to bridge the gap. Tell me about Sabre's Beyond NDC initiative.NDC is just a set of XML standards. NDC is not retailing. NDC is not offer creation. How we get that relevant, personalized offer to you at the right time is merchandising engines. NDC is the conduit to get the great things [airlines'] in-house capabilities are creating into the indirect marketplace. Beyond NDC is looking at all the points of sale—whether agency-facing desktop, corporate booking tool, a consumer itinerary management tool—and thinking about [how these] shelves evolve in a way that lets this cool new stuff come through.What are you most excited about doing next?I'm so excited about the traveler experience. We will get so much smarter from an agency and retailing perspective when these disparate systems come together. Our ability to know the traveler and know how to delight them—that is the real opportunity.