Air Canada announced its New Distribution Capabilities (NDC) program, which will feature new benefits, expanded content and additional trade support for agencies and travel buyers. The program will provide a competitive alternative to legacy distribution, giving agents access to Air Canada inventory, fares, ancillary services, ticketing, and digital products. For buyers and travelers, NDC technology means their preferred agencies can now offer a broader range of Air Canada travel options and services at the best possible prices, improving competitiveness and the customer experience.
“From local independent agencies to large corporate travel management companies, our travel trade partners were, are, and will always be crucial to Air Canada’s commercial success. As we continue to introduce new products and revenue management capabilities, it’s incumbent on us to provide the travel trade with better technology so that they are well prepared for the future,” said Mark Nasr, Senior Vice President, Products, Marketing & eCommerce at Air Canada. “The transition to modern distribution enables delivery of the full range of content and fares that Air Canada provides, as well as access to the many upcoming products and services that will improve travel.”
Air Canada conducted extensive third-party research to hear first-hand what agencies and customers want from airlines, and its program design addresses key requirements, including on inventory, revenue, functional capabilities, and transition costs. In addition to making available the most comprehensive Air Canada content, the airline’s improved NDC program offers an efficient shopping experience for retail fare products and the elimination of select debit memos. Continuous pricing, as well as the addition of Flight Pass, is planned for 2023. Upgraded service and support levels include dedicated business and IT teams, 24/7 monitoring and near real-time system status. Additional servicing automation options and order change notifications are also slated for this year.
“We recognize the time and effort required by agency partners to transition to new technology and we are committed to supporting them. Their feedback to-date has served to shape our implementation plans. For example, our focus on introducing new content on NDC rather than removing existing content from GDS EDIFACT channels is a direct result of agency partner inputs. We will continue to actively listen to feedback, and we’ll use it to shape our policies and roadmap of future products and features enabled by NDC,” said Lisa M. Pierce, Vice President, Global Sales & Air Canada Vacations at Air Canada.
Air Canada will offer four flexible options for NDC access, each designed to suit different agency business models – ranging from API integration and a free web-based tool, to a growing catalogue of certified technology providers and a GDS-based solution.
As part of Air Canada’s modernization efforts, a Distribution Cost Recovery (DCR) will be introduced to address the high expense of legacy models. This DCR will be applicable to all tickets issued globally via GDS EDIFACT channels effective June 14, 2023. The DCR does not apply to bookings made via any of Air Canada’s NDC connection options including NDC-sourced content in a GDS solution, as well as through Air Canada’s other direct booking channels such as aircanada.com, aircanada.com/agents, Air Canada for Business, and the Air Canada mobile app, or group bookings.
Additional content immediately available on NDC technology includes domestic Basic fares, with best available seat inventory and discounted ancillary pricing becoming available on June 14, 2023. An NDC coupon incentive will also be introduced beginning June 14, 2023, to support agency transition and will apply to eligible NDC bookings made directly with an Air Canada NDC API connection or via select NDC certified technology partners.
Air Canada is committed to providing information, support, and transparent communications including an NDC hub at aircanada.com/ndc with up-to-date program information. Training opportunities, interactive webinars and regular email communication will also be available.
Many of Air Canada’s key agency partners have already begun implementing NDC connectivity, including Priceline, Flight Centre, Fareportal, Flighthub, Hopper, Maritime Travel, Skylink Voyages and Travix. These and other early partners have the opportunity to drive requirements and new functionality as the program develops.