18th September, 2019
Managing complex interline itineraries has always been an intriguing aspect of running an airline. Be it for being in control of the interline offer or securing revenue, such aspects need to be managed carefully.
In the context of NDC interlining, the objective is to make interlining a straightforward upfront message exchange between airlines. But it still seems to be a work in progress.
According to Ian Tunnacliffe, who presented at the recently held Mega Event Asia Pacific (#MegaAPAC) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, IATA has been working on a detailed set of requirements and specifications for how NDC interlining would work. And it was a completely airline-centric approach so essentially each airline would work with its partners and use NDC messages to exchange offers for interline services between the airlines. And then the offer responsible airline will present offers back to the customer.
“There are many challenges with that approach. It’s a very pure NDC approach within the original spirit of NDC. But in practical terms potentially it could generate many thousands of messages from a single query and in the end there are doubts about it being the practical way of doing things. And at the end of the day still after seven years there are no airlines doing NDC interlining or no airlines have actually implemented interlining according to the standard that was being tried,” mentioned Tunnacliffe.
Can the industry consider the work behind virtual interlining products of certain players - dohop, kiwi, Air Black Box – as a starting point for implementing NDC interlining?
This is a vital issue, even as the industry is gearing up to deal with financial changes owing to NDC. As explained by Tunnacliffe, all interline offers are to include a settlement value for each service that is offered, and it is going to be the amount that the participating offer airline expects to receive from the offer responsible airline when the service has been delivered.
For more, watch the video featuring Ian Tunnacliffe.