The International Air Transport Association has welcomed the decision by the United States Department of Transportation to tentatively approve Resolution 787.
The Resolution is the foundation document for the New Distribution Capability, a travel industry-supported program launched by IATA for the development and market adoption of a new, XML-based data transmission standard.
“This is excellent news for air travellers, airlines, intermediaries, and for competition,” said Tony Tyler, IATA director general.
In its decision, DOT stated that: “Comparison shopping under the current system is generally limited strictly to comparing fares, and it is difficult to make price quality comparisons of different carriers’ product offerings….The modernized communication standards and protocols and the marketing innovations that could facilitate would be pro-competitive and in the public interest.”
DOT also said it accepted the conditions proposed by IATA and Open Allies for Airfare Transparency to ensure that no traveller is required to provide personal information to receive a fare offer (“anonymous shopping”); that the standard remains voluntary and that each airline is free to choose its own data exchange methodologies.
“IATA re-affirms its commitment to the conditions proposed by IATA and Open Allies,” said Tyler.
According to DOT, Resolution 787 will “create modern, industry-wide technical standards and protocols for data transmission throughout the distribution chain, promoting efficiency, cost savings, and innovation through a real-time exchange of price and service information among carriers, travel agents, customers, and other parties, such as web-based aggregators.”
Furthermore, “the use of common technical standards could facilitate the marketplace development of distribution practices and channels that would make it easier for consumers to compare competing carriers’ fares and ancillary products across multiple distribution channels, make purchasing more convenient, allow carriers to customize service and amenity offers, and increase transparency, efficiency, and competition.”
“Working with our partners across the travel value chain, IATA is committed to updating the standard for transmission of airline product offers to enable travel sellers and consumers to have access to all of an airline’s products and offerings and to compare the full value of the product offer, not just the base fare,” Tyler said.