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Airlink to implement New Distribution Capability (NDC)


Airlink, Southern Africa’s leading airline, announces the introduction of New Distribution Capabilities (NDC) to enhance its trade transactions starting 31 July 2024. This strategic move is aimed at modernizing and optimizing distribution processes in alignment with global advancements.

JOHANNESBURG – Airlink, Southern Africa’s premier airline, will begin introducing New Distribution Capabilities (NDC) in its transactions with the travel trade from 31 July 2024.

The transition and implementation of NDC (version 21.3) follows over a year’s work by Airlink’s commercial department to refine and enhance the airline’s distribution capabilities so they remain relevant and in-step with global industry distribution advances.

The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) NDC enhances the way airlines and trade partners interact and enables travel content to be presented in a richer format designed for better shopping, booking and upsell opportunities for agents.

NDC has been introduced to replace the 1980’s-designed Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport (EDIFACT) protocol.

“By introducing NDC, Airlink and its industry partners can start taking advantage of the way airlines content is made available.  Importantly, this allows us to reduce costs while also enhancing our competitiveness,” said Rodger Foster, CEO and Managing Director, Airlink.

“The introduction of IATA NDC by Airlink will provide our partner agents with an unparalleled level of service and access to richer content.  Partner agents can seamlessly service their bookings, manage ancillary services, provide real-time updates, and resolve customer inquiries promptly,” added Mr Foster.

“Ultimately, this is about ensuring Airlink remains abreast of industry best practices while strengthening long-term sustainability and providing significantly-enhanced benefits for our trade partners and joint customers,” he said.

Airlink worked with Thomalex to develop and test its NDC offering.  Airlink has extended this relationship and appointed Thomalex as its initial NDC aggregator partner.  However, to extend Airlink’s global reach via NDC, it will continually assess additional connectivity solutions and partners that could be onboarded going forward.

For continuity, all Airlink published fares currently available to the travel trade will remain in the traditional GDS EDIFACT channel and will not be removed.  However, trade partners will need to transition to NDC to take advantage of additional content and preferential terms on all Airlink sectors purchased and travelled in C, J, Y, K and H classes between 31 July 2024 – 30 July 2026.

In addition, from 31 July 2024, a partial distribution cost recovery charge will be applied to agents using the traditional EDIFACT channel for domestic, regional and global distribution markets.  The initial cost recovery amounts, per sector, are:

  • Domestic (POS ZA):     USD   6.00
  • Regional (POS Africa): USD   9.00
  • Global (Rest of World): USD 11.00
Background on NDC

NDC is a data exchange format based on Offer and Order management processes for airlines to create and distribute relevant offers to the customer, regardless of distribution channel.

It is a travel-industry supported programme launched by IATA for the development and market adoption of a new, XML-based data transmission standard (NDC Standard) which enhances the capability and communications between airlines and travel agents and is open to any third party, intermediary, IT provider or non-IATA member, to implement and use.

Airlink has implemented Amadeus Altea NDC, version 21.3.

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Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.