Sabre enlarges ‘Beyond NDC’ programme while achieving IATA Level 3 NDC certification

19 September, 2018

Sabre's 'Beyond NDC' programme was launched earlier in 2018 and has already been enlarged, with a range of new aviation and travel entities.

The programme aligns Sabre with industry leaders who are committed to enabling NDC (New Distribution Capability) adoption and willing to help influence the creation, design and roadmap for Sabre's NDC-enabled retailing, distribution and fulfilment solutions. In the most recent expansion there is the inclusion of United Airlines, BCD Travel, Finnair, American Express Travel & Lifestyle Services, Singapore Airlines and Corporate Travel Management.

Ultimately, Beyond NDC is Sabre's collaborative innovation initiative, charted to drive the industry forward through the development, integration and testing of end-to-end capabilities to process NDC-enabled offers and orders. Companies committed to the programme are participating with Sabre in the solution design process, leveraging beta testing capabilities and establishing their global leadership position as drivers of NDC.

Adding to Sabre's expertise in NDC is the company being designated NDC-Certified Level 3 as an Aggregator by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). This new certification is in addition to Sabre's previously announced NDC Level 3 capability as an IT provider. According to IATA's NDC search registry, while there are 143 NDC-certified and capable companies, only 12 hold Level 3 capability as an Aggregator. Among others, the companies now include Sabre, Amadeus, Travelport, Skyscanner and KAYAK.

"IATA Level 3 certification is another key step in developing holistic NDC-enabled solutions and we're proud of this achievement, but the real work is being done in close collaboration with our airline and agency partners", said Kathy Morgan, Sabre VP of NDC.

However, Sabre insists the collaboration is already under way - citing its work with United Airlines in the implementation of the 'Sabre Red Workspace' as an example. Sabre refers to its Red Workspace as the "next-generation travel agency platform", and the two companies previously signed a full content agreement in 2013.

Nearly 80% of all air shopping in Sabre Red Workspace starts with schedule and availability queries. Together, United Airlines and Sabre are working on schedule and availability-led shopping solutions, a clear example of a travel technology company/GDS working jointly with an airline/client to progress the status and capabilities of NDC-enabled solutions.

"The Beyond NDC program uniquely positions United and Sabre to deliver a win-win-win for the travel ecosystem", said Tye Radcliffe, United's director of Distribution. "Our agency-friendly approach to shopping is just one example of the work being done as we build upon the NDC standard and develop technology that shapes a traveller's end-to-end journey from offer creation through fulfilment."

Business travellers today want and deserve an engaging shopping experience that lets them customize their preferences. Their employers demand not only the ability to search and shop multiple sites, but also to have access to robust, reliable and up-to-date data for cohesive itineraries, actionable reporting and duty of care. It is these goals that Sabre's Level 3 NDC certification aims to satisfy.