British Airways opens API data sources to developers

British Airways opens API data sources to developers

British Airways is opening up some of its flight information to IT developers in a trial to find innovative new ways for people to search for and buy British Airways flights.

Application Programming Interfaces are sets of XML code that can be used to access services from a third party for inclusion in mobile apps or websites.

For the trial, British Airways is providing access to three APIs that will allow developers access to content and data to build new channels for customers to search for flights, prices and to complete bookings. 

The trial is open to IT experts from all sectors of the travel industry from start-ups to travel agents and established global distribution systems.

Developers can register to take part in the trial, subject to approval.

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Ian Luck, distribution strategy manager at British Airways, said: “British Airways is proud to be one of the first airlines to take part in this game-changing industry-wide collaborative initiative led by IATA.

“These APIs help us to support innovation in the market and encourage new entrants by lowering the barriers to entry and developing new and exciting selling channels.

“In addition to access at developer.ba.com, British Airways also expects to provide access via a number of IT service providers, such as Travelfusion, which is a leading online travel content aggregator and innovator of direct connect distribution solutions.”

As part of ‘Shop and Order’, British Airways has developed three separate APIs:

  • Air Shopping – will allow users to search for availability and pricing.
  • Flight Price – which validates a price quote and provides payment options.
  • Order and Create – completes the booking, accepts payments and issues the ticket.

The move is part of a wider industry initiative which seeks to develop an XML-based data messaging standard, known as New Distribution Capability, and uses the latest technology to deliver enhanced information to travel agents.

During 2015, the airline will add the ability to see a seat map, reserve a favourite seat and arrange for additional baggage.

This content will be made available from British Airways directly, via its NDC service providers and through the existing GDSs, subject to development.

The Shop and Order APIs will support richer content, greater product differentiation, and new selling opportunities beyond basic prices and flight schedules, such as whether customers can expect fully-flat beds, lounge access and what their baggage allowance is.

The APIs will eventually provide the potential for travel agents to offer a more innovative and personalised service to their customers by offering ancillary services and showcasing the customer experience in the air and on the ground.