British Airways has introduced new minimum requirements and a certification process for aggregators and direct-connect operators that access its New Distribution Capability-based application programming interfaces.
According to the new framework, servicing development, which includes ‘post-booking servicing and disruption management support’ will become the first mandatory flow, that will be added to the list of features required for partners to go live.
NDC partners who fail to certify and meet the new requirements will have NDC access revoked, according to a notice from the airline .
The airline has asked NDC partners to provide a roadmap of this development / certification plan by the end of February 2022 and to develop to these features by the end of June 2022.
As NDC achieves greater scale for airlines like BA, the adoption of servicing capabilities has grown in importance. These new capabilities will bring down call center volumes, especially in moments of trip disruption and drive more revenue via ancillary sales and deliver a more consistent customer experience through NDC partners.
The new servicing feature will allow customers to process any changes online and not rely on offline processes.
Making a comment to The Beat, Ian Luck, president of distribution at T2RL, a consulting and research firm focused on airline IT and distribution said, “Anything you sell, you want to be able to service, and most of the agencies want that, especially the travel management companies. A lot of airlines have some sort of certification process.
“Especially at the beginning, a lot of airlines were less strict on servicing, but that’s changing now that this capability is mature.”
BA has circulated a list of features NDC aggregators must enable. These include support for various forms of payment, the ability to retrieve orders and booking information on itineraries, the ability to handle cancellations, refunds and changes and capabilities around adding ancillaries to orders, such as seats, baggage or inflight meals.
The requirements that take hold this year also include directives around “disruption handling,” including the ability to notify ticketed passengers of schedule changes, cancellations or rebookings.