It wasn’t so very long ago that the existence of global distribution systems (GDSs) appeared to be threatened. Eager to maximize visibility for unbundled products – like extra legroom seats and inflight Wi-Fi – airlines were warming to ‘Direct Connect’ distribution models, which allowed them to bypass GDSs by connecting customers directly to their host reservations systems. In turn, some carriers envisaged a day when GDS fees would become a thing of the past. But in the last couple of years, as GDSs gradually improved the exposure of airlines’ ancillary products to third party travel agents and offered other creative merchandising tools, they have somewhat re-cemented relationships with carriers. Though some frustrations remain, primarily regarding airlines’ commercial agreements with GDSs, airlines “recognize there is a large market out there, whether corporate travelers, individual travelers or travelers who exist outside the home market, who are using online or offline travel agencies” and that they “need to make at least some part of their optional product mix available in order to ensure the customer has the journey they want and capture the associated revenue”, says Atmosphere Research Group analyst Henry Harteveldt. That’s why it should not come as the biggest surprise that GDSs are positioning themselves to accept the very technology that helped airlines bypass them in the first place. Farelogix’s schema for facilitating Direct Connect served as the foundation for the International Air Transport Association (IATA’s) New Distribution Capability (NDC), which offers a framework for XML-based data transmission standards. Get the full story at Runway Girl Network