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IATA AGM 2017: Saudia attains highest level of certification for digital merchandising
Saudia receives IATA New Distribution Capability - Level 3 certification

IATA AGM 2017: Saudia attains highest level of certification for digital merchandising

Saudi Arabian Airlines has announced it has received the highest level of certification for its digital merchandising of the airline’s on-board product and features available to travel retailers.

This now means that when travel agents and retailers are making air travel booking for Saudia guests, they will be able to see images of the seats and layout on board.

In addition, passengers can purchase additional services when available.

With this new capability, Saudia will have the ability to provide IATA-accredited travel agencies a full view – displayed through rich media content – that includes fare family products and dynamic pricing.

Historically, the platform used by the travel retail industry aggregated text-based information with basic product facts about the on-board specifications.

This meant that guests did not have a way to view the product and have a perspective of what it looks like prior boarding the aircraft.

The New Distribution Capability standard introduced by the International Air Transport Association is an XML-based data transmission standard that was launched for the development and market adoption of a new standard for merchandising airline products.


IATA’s aim with the implementation of the NDC standard is to enhance the capability of communications between airlines and travel agents.

The NDC Standard enables the travel industry to transform the way air products are retailed to corporations, leisure and business travellers.

Saudia achieved the highest certification from IATA based on the full-scale functionality that travel retailers can now have access to, enabling them to offer guests the option to purchase Wi-Fi, additional baggage, bundling of air and non-air products, and seat selection during the point of sale.

Saudi Arabian Airlines director general Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser remarked: “The IATA Level 3 certification is an important achievement for Saudia.

“The implementation of the new digital merchandising gives Saudia the ability to offers the 69,500 IATA accredited travel agencies across the world with a view of the latest SAUDIA on-board products.”

Al-Jasser added: “Saudia has utilised modern technology to make the passenger booking experience as seamless and as transparent as possible.

“By obtaining the IATA certification, we have adopted the new standard to communicate effectively with our travel retail partners and provide them with access to the full-scale of value-added options that are available to guests flying with Saudia.”

The airline partnered with the IATA Level 3 certified travel aggregator – TP Connects – which is connected with a large number of online travel agencies and business-to-business reseller travel agencies for end-to-end NDC deployment.

“We congratulate Saudia on becoming the latest airline in the MENA region to achieve NDC Level 3 Certification.

“With this milestone, Saudia joins the growing fold of global airlines that are transforming airline distribution and launching a new era of airline retailing in which travellers have access to all of an airline’s products and services, regardless of their choice of shopping channel,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA director general.