What is NDC (New Distribution Capability)? | NDC Certification Program

NDC (New Distribution Capability)

New Distribution Capability (NDC) is a data exchange format based on Offer and Order management processes for airlines to create and distribute relevant offers to the customer regardless of the distribution channel. ​​​​

The purpose of the NDC Certification Program is to confirm the scope and level of a particular entity’s capability to receive and send NDC messages. The Program validates that the structure of the Applicant’s NDC messages accurately follows the relevant version of the applicable NDC schemas.

The NDC Certification Program does not validate the content of the Applicant’s messages, or the quality or other aspects of the Applicant’s activities or products, stand-alone or in comparison with those of other entities, nor does it validate, certify or endorse any commercial products that may be derived from the usage of NDC messages validated under any type of certification under the NDC Certification Program. Furthermore, by maintaining the NDC Registry, IATA does not take any position with respect to the relative quality or other aspects of the activities or products of entities that are not certified under the NDC Certification Program.

Airlines that deploy an NDC API, and Sellers and Aggregators that consume an airline NDC API can apply for the NDC Certified designation, for a particular version, or several available versions, of NDC schemas, at either Level 2,3or4.

Any IT providers that offer products based on the NDC standard for Airlines and Sellers/Aggregators can apply for the NDC Capable designation, for a particular version, or several available versions, of NDC schemas, at either Level2,3or4.

Different combinations of the following NDC message types are evaluated at each designation level, on the basis of the applicable schemas, for both NDC Certified and NDC Capable designations (as further detailed below in Section 3 – “Application Requirements”):

  • The Shopping schemas enable airlines to distribute their full product offers and to merchandize their baggage, seat choices, and ancillary services, using rich content, in an anonymous or personalized manner.
  • The Order Management schemas enable airlines to manage NDC-driven orders throughout the entire lifecycle, from booking to fulfillment.Eligible entities that are parties to the same NDC deployment (“Deployment Partners”) shall complete and submit separate Certification Applications in connection with the deployment in question, together with the required Supporting Documents. Each such entity may, as part of its Certification Application, submit the names of its Deployment Partners, together with proof that such Deployment Partners agree to have their names published as part of the entity’s NDC Registry entry.


NDC (New Distribution Capability) is a travel industry-supported program (NDC Program) launched by IATA for the development and market adoption of a new, XML-based data transmission standard (NDC Standard). The NDC Standard enhances the capability of communications between airlines and travel agents and is open to any third party, intermediary, IT provider, or non-IATA member, to implement and use.


NDC enables the travel industry to transform the way air products are retailed to corporations, leisure, and business travelers, by addressing the industry’s current distribution limitations: product differentiation and time-to-market, access to full and rich air content, and finally, a transparent shopping experience.

Who will benefit and how?

Available on a voluntary and open basis, NDC benefits different industry players across the airline distribution value chain as follows:

  • Full service and low-cost airlines > Differentiate their Products and Services
  • Travel Sellers > Access Full and Rich Air Content of the Airlines
  • Customers > Benefit from a Transparent Shopping Experience

The following Applicant information will be posted on the NDC Registry:

    1. Name
    2. Logo and Website
    3. Original Certification Date
    4. Current Level of Certification
    5. Name of Messages Certified
    6. Schema Version of the Messages Certified
    7. Date of Certification of Messages Certified
    8. Date of Expiration of Messages Certified
    9. Deployment Partners (if disclosed)
    10. Special Remarks
    11. Date of Last Change to Certification
    12. Type of Last Change to Certification (i.e. as a result of Supplemental Certification, or NewCertification, as defined below)
    13. Certification Expiration Date
    14. IATA Strategic Partner status, where applicable
    15. Contact Details

Once IATA has granted the Applicant’s requested certification and posted the relevant information in the NDC Registry, the Applicant may request at any time to add further Additional Messages to an existing certification, or to replace a previously certified Mandatory Message or Additional Message with the same message under a different NDC schema version (in either case, a “Supplemental Certification”). For a Supplemental Certification, the Applicant must follow the regular process for a New Certification, including filling in a Certification Application and submitting required Supporting Documents for all messages for which Supplemental Certification is being requested.

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