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Delta will roll out the NDC strategy in 2025

After much speculation about when Delta Air Lines would enter the world of New Distribution Capability – and for most observers it was always a matter of when, not if – the industry has an answer.

The carrier is building its NDC solution with several partners and plans to have some “milestone releases” available by the end of 2024 for “customers who want to come test and learn with us,” according to Delta Managing Director of Sales Technology and Global sales support Sara Reid told BTN Europe stablemate Business Travel News.

“As we move into 2025, the first half of the year, we will be doing some integrations with the ecosystem and starting to work on unlocking or opening up value with some of the new products that we want to bring to market.”

Delta plans to enable omnichannel service at scale in the second half of 2025, and from 2025 and beyond to amplify and “continuously improve” innovations for the sector, according to a timeline slide shared with BTN.

Reid reiterated that Delta currently has no plans to follow in the footsteps of other airlines and remove fares from EDIFACT channels or impose surcharges.

“We have absolutely no plans to prematurely remove content or impose fees as an adoption tactic,” Reid said. “We believe that if this journey is done well, and we intend to do it well, we will drive adoption by creating value for customers, not through these strong-arm tactics.”

The airline also announced its plans during a Business Showcase event on Thursday morning.

Solution design partners

Partners Delta works with include Accelya, Airlines Reporting Corp., the International Air Transport Association and Google. Reid did not go into detail about what each partnership would entail, other than to say that Delta is building toward the IATA 21.3 schedule, but that “we will not allow that schedule to prevent us from delivering value create for our customers.” she said.

Delta later added that the carrier will work with Google to “optimize the offers we offer across all channels.”

Accelya confirmed that Delta would use the modular approach and APIs of its FLX platform to deliver the airline’s NDC content and scale integrations, “which would allow Delta to reach a wide range of sales channels while simultaneously increasing the airline’s ability would maintain to deliver its next-generation product strategy.”

“We don’t just take off-the-shelf solutions that have been implemented by other carriers. We’re challenging the status quo by saying we want to make sure that all that information that we gathered during the discovery phase, we’ll be able to implement,” Reid said.

Delta’s goal is to design a solution that mimics the experience of its website, which Reid says customers “would be ideal.”

Reid also noted that the global distribution systems have been part of the airline’s discovery phase and expects these integrations to occur in the first half of 2025. The airline said it has also been in discussions with TMCs such as American Express Global Business Travel and Amtrav. and is working with online booking tools, including SAP Concur, as it prepares to launch its NDC solution.

Sales and service ‘transformation’

Delta calls the NDC development a “sales and service transformation.” The focus is on creating “better products, better merchandising and better service, and we will do that by working with our customers and industry partners,” Delta’s SVP of global sales, Bob Somers, said at an industry conference last week. week in Washington.

Reid added, “We’ve pushed EDFIACT to its limits. We need this new technology to create better products, and we’re creating these products with business customers in mind.”

The airline’s corporate advisory board “has been working with us on this journey for two years and they are very comfortable with the timeline,” Somers said. “Do it right, don’t do it quickly.”

When asked whether Delta would adopt continuous pricing, which United Airlines has and American Airlines has said it will add soon, Reid declined to share the airline’s plans.

Delta wants to be “very transparent” with customers and partners about its NDC capabilities. “We plan to create a website that will help people know where we are in our journey and what opportunities are available, and we will keep that up to date,” Reid said.

Somers added that one of the biggest differences between what Delta will offer compared to other airlines is the “priority of business and business travel. That will be paramount,” he said, suggesting other airlines have lowered the profile of that segment in the industry. their sales strategy.