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A good reason to celebrate World Standards Day



Reflecting on standards and collaboration: The journey to offers and orders

In October, both ANSI – the American National Standards Institute and ATPCO held conferences around Washington, DC. ANSI’s celebrated World Standards Week, while ATPCO’s brought over 400 aviation professionals together to discuss the exciting path to modern airline retailing automation – the journey to offers and orders.

Recently, I reflected on a question I was asked at an airline ancillary products conference: “Don’t standards stifle innovation?” The answer has always been very clear to me – No. In fact, the exact opposite. The only way to scale in an interoperable way is through agile and impactful standards: fast to market, accurate, and adopted broadly. ATPCO continues to provide standards to allow commercial companies in our industry to do what they do best: innovate and compete.atpco standards are not enforced by law but give network economic benefits to the industryATPCO announced four industry outcomes at Elevate 2022, tying our corporate success to transformational changes that will benefit all stakeholders in the supply chain, from consumers and channels to technology providers and airlines. Let’s look at how standards impact each of these areas. 

By 2026, industry outcomes facilitated by ATPCO

Creating the offer: 80% of orders are dynamically created, supported by ATPCO

Governed by the Offer Content Council, our design Team for Dynamic Offers is ensuring that existing automation concepts like fare classes and reservation booking designators are tailored for a transition to more personalized and contextualized product price points. Our leading three proofs of concept are designing an industry product catalogue, enhanced distribution, and airline order posting. 

Distributing the offer: 80% of indirect offers are constructed by the airline

Our design team for NDC Pricing has been supporting airlines and technology providers who are already creating New Distribution Capability offers using ATPCO data. The primary focus has been recognition of the concept of an “aggregator” in the distribution chain, improved targeting of airline fees, and private distribution of fees data only to the channels that need the data.

We announced a new design team for NDC Solutions that will focus on business problems in an airline-owned offer world that can be addressed by changed and new standards. This will focus on what we’ve learned over the last few years from our NDC Exchange product – real world experience, a real code base, discussed within our trusted collaboration framework. 

Presenting the offer: 100% of key attributes are used in air product shopping

Our design team for Modern Airline Retailing Attributes (Next Generation Storefront) produced the first standard outlining consistent interpretation of ATPCO data. For the 16 most shop-relevant attributes, it determines whether the attribute is available with the airline product, and if so, whether it’s free or for a fee. Thinking of shopping, but only want products that allow free advance change and refund, free carry-on baggage, and Wi-Fi? The results you see are probably being powered by ATPCO attribute data.  

Servicing, settling, and posting the offer: Settlement and servicing is no-touch

Once the offer has been sold, we must make sure the original data lasts through the entire life cycle to allow for servicing and settlement. Our focus in these areas is our design team for 100% Automation of Change, to double down on existing automation by ensuring all airlines have their policies in place, and our design team for Tax Standards, to ensure ATPCO as the single source for tax pricing and shopping automation keeps up with new mandates and continues to support tax data through the transition to offers and orders.  

In a nutshell

A trusted, transparent collaboration framework and set of standards form the foundation of modern airline retailing. Our councils advise on strategic priorities. Our intake allows all stakeholders to share business problems with the distribution supply chain. Our design teams work these problems to the point of solutions. We ask the industry twice a year for the level of importance of each one and they become ATPCO’s Product Development Plan, which covers planned and proposed items over the upcoming 24-month period. There is transition, evolution, and transformation. Through it all, standards assure us that a whole industry is moving in the right direction – the journey to offers and orders. 

Let's talk standards


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David Smith

About David Smith

As Product Director, Airline Offer Distribution, David has 28 years of experience working in the airline industry in the travel distribution ecosystem.

Within 10 years at a major European airline, and 18 years at ATPCO, he has experience in finance, business process re-engineering, program management, commercial negotiation, data distribution, and standards creation and management.

He is also a board member of the US-based Society for Standards Professionals.