Travel commerce platform Travelport claims it is the first GDS operator to manage the live booking of flights using the International Air Transportation Association’s (IATA) New Distribution Capability (NDC) technical standard.

The first transaction was made by British agency Meon Valley Travel on 19 October and involved a ticket for a short-haul, low-cost flight from London to Milan issued by a European carrier.

Travelport says the booking was managed on its Smartpoint agency point of sale.

The company published a roadmap for its initial range of NDC products in February after becoming the first GDS operator to acquire Level 3 certification as an aggregator from IATA in December 2017.

Travelport says it expects NDC capability to be used by an increasing number of agencies and airlines as part of the NDC roll-out over the coming months. It also plans to release a series of product enhancements, including a version for online agents in 2019.

Gordon Wilson, president and CEO of Travelport, said: “This is a landmark moment for airline distribution. We are delighted to have taken a lead in bringing the NDC era to life. It has required an extraordinary amount of skill and expertise to make this happen and I want to thank my own colleagues at Travelport as well as those at our partners. We are still at the very earliest stages of NDC deployment. Its evolution will continue to take time as we learn from the practical experience of its first use. Meanwhile, we continue to offer a comprehensive global travel commerce platform capable of handling mass volumes of searchable and bookable content at speed for the world’s travel providers and agents.”

Aleks Popovich, senior vice president of financial and distribution services at IATA, commented: “Congratulations to Travelport for managing the first NDC-enabled booking through its platform. This is a significant step toward the new era of airline retailing. We look forward to continuing to work with Travelport as it advances NDC-enabled products in the coming months and years.”

Colin Boddy, corporate director at Meon Valley Travel, added: “We are proud to be the first agency to make an NDC booking using our preferred GDS channel. We have always been at the forefront of technology and are honoured to have been chosen as a partner for this landmark moment.”

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