IATA opts for Open AXIS as technical standard for NDC initiative
Stakeholders in the project (a mixture of airlines, intermediaries and technology companies) were informed last week that the IATA-run committee had decided to opt for the Open AXIS schemas after tests alongside the OpenTravel Alliance-fronted counterpart.
The decision comes just a few weeks after it emerged fare filing service ATPCO had taken over Open Axis and the maintenance and development of the standards from its previous structure as a non-profit organisation.
The first pilot projects for NDC, using the Open AXIS standards, are now expected to begin in April this year.
Open AXIS was selected as the core technology standard, a process by which IATA hopes airlines will be able to supply content and merchandising capability to intermediaries, by a majority of ten to one.
Few will be surprised that the OpenAXIS schema has been adopted by the Passenger Distribution Group (PDG) working group overseeing the initial stages of the NDC project.
Its standards were considered to be the preferred option by many of the airlines that were both members of Open AXIS and the group driving NDC within IATA.
OpenTravel’s schema was also favoured by some airlines but also the GDSs, a group – and important player in the current distribution ecosystem – which is not exactly overawed by the development of the NDC.
The selection process for the XML standards is seen by many as one of the most important parts of the early phase of the NDC project, a highly controversial initiative by an IATA determined to overhaul the existing distribution model for airlines despite the protestations of those running the status quo.
Interestingly, IATA says in the note to stakeholders that it will “acquire full governance over these schemas”, although it is unclear exactly what this means given that ATPCO is the current owner (albeit only for a few weeks).
IATA did not respond to queries for additional comment.
Kevin is senior editor and a co-founder at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and publishes his first book - a biography about Depeche Mode - in late-2016.