FCM Travel Solutions and parent company Flight Centre Travel Group have established a new Global Airline Distribution Team to spearhead industry collaboration between technology and GDS providers, TMCs and airlines in developing solutions to book and service New Distribution Capability (NDC) content.
Jason Toothman, executive general manager of global air distribution for Flight Centre Travel Group, has been appointed to head up the new team and will be based in the US. He joins from Sabre Travel Network, where his 15-year career spanned senior roles, account management and airline distribution roles. Most recently, he was vice president of global accounts for the APAC region, based in Brisbane. In his new role, he will work closely with airline suppliers and third-party technology providers across multiple markets to frame and execute the company’s strategy related to airline connectivity and content procurement globally.
Also on the team is Nicola Ping, who has been appointed as manager of air content and distribution at Flight Centre Travel Group EMEA, based in London. Ping joins from British Airways, where she was manager of distribution technology since 2015, working closely with IATA to build the airline’s internal NDC technology offering. She was also in charge of educating corporate and leisure agencies externally on BA’s NDC content and represented the airline on IATA’s Passenger Distribution Management Group. Her ten-year career also includes experience in global pricing and revenue management roles. At Flight Centre/FCM, she will be responsible for driving technology strategy for air content with the company’s partners and internal development teams.
In addition, the team includes Jason Nooning, general manager of global air distribution, based in Brisbane. Nooning has held this role for the past year, representing Flight Centre at key industry forums including IATA’s Passenger Distribution Management Group Advisory Forum and Business Travel Summit. He has been actively engaging with stakeholders around the world to discuss and define partnership strategies that capitalise on the capabilities of NDC.
Markus Eklund, global general manager of FCM Travel Solutions, commented: “One of the biggest factors influencing corporate travel in 2019 will be distribution as NDC content becomes more of a reality. Our goal has always been to balance the short-term priorities of NDC with building a long-term sustainable booking solution with our technology partners, including Amadeus and Sabre, in collaboration with our key airline suppliers.
“Together with our parent company we have created the Global Airline Distribution Team to drive this long-term solution forwards, not just for ourselves as a leading global travel management company, but to better help airlines connect with our corporate customers and their travellers.
“Nicola Ping brings valuable experience of NDC from an airline perspective, while Jason Toothman has extensive insight from the GDS and distribution standpoint. Our team of experts have already played a key part in leading NDC conversations with airlines and our technology partners and we believe we are in a great position to drive adoption of NDC in 2019 and beyond.
“The team is already undertaking high-level workshops and meetings with Amadeus and British Airways and we expect to start running several pilots in Q2 this year to search, book and service NDC content across multiple channels. As an active member of IATA’s Global Travel Management Executive Council, FCM is also working collaboratively with other major TMCs to ensure NDC benefits all parties.”