Sabre’s president and CEO Sean Menke wants to leverage IATA’s NDC but is quick to point out that this won’t be at the expense of the company’s historical technology leadership role.
Speaking at The Beat Live in Dallas recently, Menke said that the development of NDC standards was just the first step in a series of changes that would impact the way airlines market their services and how travel agencies retail those services to consumers.
But there are a host of other implications, he stressed, including airline revenue management, ticketing fulfilment and servicing and other back-office functions that travel agencies provide in support of airlines, especially TMCs that support business travellers.
“Sabre has a history of bringing together the interests of travel suppliers and travel retailers and finding ways for technology to move the industry forward. The conversations we have today with airlines and agencies are very different from our discussions even a few years ago. The forward-thinking people are focused on driving value creation for airlines and agencies alike. That’s how we will make NDC work,” said Menke.
He observed that while there is a perception of airline industry consolidation steering airline financial results, “the real impact on airline economics has been the explosive growth of LCCs, impressively moving beyond the leisure travel market and successfully driving pricing and competition across both the business and leisure travel segments”.
Such factors will require traditional carriers to differentiate their offerings and find new ways to drive revenue growth while still competing for the price-conscious traveller, he added.
He reiterated Sabre’s commitment to NDC standards, saying that the company is already Level 1 compliant with a roadmap to become Level 2 and Level 3 compliant in 2018.