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What it’ll take to evolve distribution methods as an industry

what it’ll take to evolve distribution methods as an industry

Distribution methods are changing, but the fundamental content that makes up the offer is still needed. So how does an entire industry most efficiently and effectively evolve to meet the present need and stay agile for future changes?

Airline travel data we’ll always need, despite changing distribution methods

ATPCO’s strength has always been organizing lots of content that make up an offer, like order data airlines need for servicing (changes to the product after sale) and revenue accounting. We’ve learned that instead of narrowing our focus to simply build new structures to distribute this data using newer methods like NDC, we can save time and costs by evolving to meet this transformation at the intersection of airline distribution, airline revenue management, and airline revenue accounting.

We have been working on this evolution. Last year ATPCO set up five councils to help advise and prioritize the work ATPCO does for industry advancement, as well as design teams to work on various aspects of airline offers and orders. During this collaboration, industry participants confirmed the data that we need to focus on now—the data that’s foundational to any offer, regardless of the distribution method or dynamic quality. Here are the areas we identified as top priorities:

  • Tax data, needed to consistently triangulate between retailers, suppliers, and governments
  • Baggage and ancillary policies, driven by an evolved product catalogue, for disclosure and shopping
  • Change and refund policies, for consumer protection, contracts of carriage, and shopping
  • Fees, which are notably separate from the offer on even the most digital retailers, to better differentiate the cost of supplying the product to the consumer
  • Security, to route data by aggregator and point of sale, leveraging IATA identity management
  • Eligibility, to enable customization data in the context of dynamic offers

The path to offers and orders: Evolution or revolution?

Leveraging standards that already exist will make evolutions in distribution significantly easier and agile by easing interoperability issues. Instead of reinventing the data that already works, we can evolve the most relevant data and standards to unlock more NDC transactions. Evolving standards to meet new distribution methods is just one way ATPCO is working for the industry to advance modern retailing.

Join us

Join our journey to offers and orders by participating in our NDC Pricing design team, or any of our other design teams who are evolving data and standards. Even better, share your story with me about how you implemented NDC by leveraging ATPCO data and 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.