EK drives agents to NDC

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Effective July 1, Emirates will introduce a surcharge on all bookings made via the GDS in an effort to drive agents to use the airline’s NDC booking options, which means they incur less costs.

Kicking in on the same day, exclusive rich content and services for travel agents will be launched on Emirates Gateway, which provides access to Emirates’ content through Iata standard NDC APIs.

This will allow agents access to differentiated ticket pricing such as dedicated promotional fares and pre-sales; the ability to sell excess baggage; access to rich content; differentiated pricing for select ancillary services; and faster access to new ancillary products, says the airline.

Agencies not signed up to the Emirates Gateway can continue to access Emirates’ legacy content through the airline’s GDS partners after July 1. However, to mitigate the cost the airline incurs through GDS distribution, bookings made via the GDS will incur a distribution surcharge ranging between USD14 (R206) and USD25 (R368) per ticket depending on sector length, says the airline.

This means that, from July 1, it will cost R824 more to book a Johannesburg-Dubai-London-Dubai-Johannesburg itinerary in the GDS.

Adnan Kazim, Emirates chief commercial officer, said: “Our goal is to empower our trade partners to deliver even better customer experiences, and we are pleased to introduce the next batch of new exclusive features and benefits for them on Emirates Gateway, which was launched to address the limitations of current legacy systems and provide a wide range of additional content and options for agents.

Emirates Gateway content can be accessed through three flexible access solutions:

Emirates Booking Portal: web booking portal available in 16 languages, connected directly to Emirates’ reservation systems, that simplifies the booking, ticketing and post-ticketing servicing of Emirates orders.

Emirates Gateway Direct:provides access to Emirates content through Iata standard NDC APIs, allowing trade partners to build applications that meet their needs.

Emirates Gateway Sync: a facilitated link to Emirates products and services provided by industry-leading, Iata-registered, Emirates-certified technology partners.

Owner of Travel VIP, Paula Varges Martini, said the move was in line with many carriers’ cost-cutting decisions to steer agents off the GDS and on to their NDC booking portals, in which they had invested vast amounts of funding. She said airlines were using a two-pronged approach to do this, by not only charging surcharges for GDS bookings, but by offering special rates through NDC booking channels on both airfares and auxiliary services.

She added that while this approach made sense from an Emirates perspective, in practice many agents were struggling to get approval from airlines to access their NDC APIs if they were signed up to Iata’s GoLite programme rather than the traditional bank guarantee option. See Travel News article: https://www.travelnews.co.za/article/covid-puts-ndc-back-foot

The GoLite option had grown in popularity in the South African market in the last year, especially for smaller agents, due to the cost savings it theoretically offered them, explained Paula.

In order to avoid having to access different airline NDC booking portals on separate screens as more and more airlines push consultants off-GDS, Paula recommended agents to sign up to use booking tools that offered both GDS and NDC fare content in one screen to save time.

Original Article Posted on SA Travel News