Russia’s Ural Airlines to embrace NDC

Ural Airlines Ural to become Russia’s third airline to use IATA’s New Distribution Capability (Amadeus)

Before the end of 2019, Ural Airlines (U6) will implement the New Distribution Capability (NDC), a technological enhancement created by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) that simplifies data exchange between all parties in the supply chain.

The top-league Russian airline is currently reviewing its technical capabilities for adopting the NDC protocol, Olga Igosheva, Ural Airlines’ deputy commercial director revealed at the recent Moscow Digital Aviation Forum 2019, which was produced by ATO Events, Russian Aviation Insider’s sister company.

NDC will enable the airline to exchange data directly with on-line travel agents, without resorting to mediators such as Global Distribution Systems (GDS). As an additional benefit, it also has a way of providing a complete information picture of its product to its customers, including the availability of ancillary services that can be promoted through meta-search engines and online travel agents’ portals.

Although Ural is currently contracting Amadeus GDS for its distribution needs, Amadeus itself achieved the Level 3 New Distribution Capability (NDC) certification as an aggregator (not only as IT provider) from IATA in June 2018, which means that Amadeus is able to consume NDC offers from airlines and then also distribute them to travel sellers.

The Yekaterinburg-headquartered Ural Airlines is not looking to be NDC-certified at the present, as IATA doesn’t require this, Olga Igosheva mentioned. Two other Russian airlines are currently using NDC – Aeroflot and S7 Airlines – and Yamal Airlines has adopted elements of NDC in its joint project with Russian IT developer Sirena Travel for selling discounted tickets to a less wealthy customer base.

“Yamal is successfully completing thousands of transactions using this protocol,” Alexander Sukhinin, Sirena Travel’s director for business development, commented at the conference.

In the four first months of 2019, Ural Airlines, Russia’s fifth major carrier, flew 2.48 million passengers, a rise of eight per cent on the same period in 2018.  Its passenger target for this year is 9.6 million, its 2018 financial report suggests.

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