The IATA has defended a controversial new airline distribution initiative it is spearheading, saying that it has been "misrepresented" by various industry groups that are opposing it.
"There's been a lot of misinformed discussion, communication," says IATA director general and chief executive Tony Tyler of the initiative, called New Distribution Capability, or NDC for short.
The NDC aims to allow airlines selling tickets through travel agents via global distribution systems (GDSs) to customise their products for customers, such as the addition of ancillary products.
Travel agents and GDSs, however, have voiced skepticism about the NDC and have accused the IATA of not consulting them sufficiently for the project.
Speaking at an International Aviation Club luncheon in Washington DC on 23 April, Tyler says he is "confident" that once the initiative is "properly understood", that the IATA would gain more support for the NDC.
"There is a lot of misunderstanding out there," says Tyler.
GDSs have said the NDC would create privacy concerns, by requiring travellers to divulge more personal information in order to view customised offerings by airlines. Tyler disputes this, saying that a customer would not have to provide any more information to get a price quote than what is done currently using a GDS.
He also says that the NDC will not lead to less fare transparency as reported, and refers to concerns that airlines will no longer be required to file fares with third party companies.
"I find this argument to be the height of absurdity," says Tyler. "No airline is required by law or regulation to file fares... In reality, airlines will still have the ability to file fares under the NDC."