Qatar Airways seeks to differentiate with no-surcharge trade portal

Qatar Airways seeks to differentiate with no-surcharge trade portal

New Oryx Connect platform developed based on Iata’s NDC standard

Qatar Airways has rolled out a new trade portal that is says will help the airline “differentiate” its products while not “penalising” agents with surcharges.

The Gulf carrier’s Oryx Connect platform has been developed based on Iata’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) standard.

It says the portal, powered by Accelya Farelogix, will benefit travel agents through “improved functionality, intuitive user experience, access to rich content and the ability to tailor travel experiences for their customers”.

In addition, agents can also access Qatar Airways’ NDC content via aggregators including Aarongroup, Duffel, Travelfusion, Travvise and Verteil.

NDC content will be available through Amadeus by early 2022 and the carrier said “discussions are underway with a range of other Global Distribution Systems and aggregators.”

UK country manager Gary Kershaw told Travel Weekly it was “important” that Qatar offered access to NDC content without charging a surcharge for agents to use the GDS.

He added: “We have seen other airlines implement their NDC strategy sooner, but we deliberately held back to watch the technology mature.

“We have been very keen to engage with the trade. We wanted to do this in the right way, not complicate the system and certainly not penalise them. So we’ve ensured it’s still free to access our fares through the GDS.”

Kershaw said “every airline” will want to display their products via NDC because “it allows you to differentiate your product”, and said: “The portal is set up in a way that agents can log in, see that rich and deeper content that they can’t see through the GDS.”

He said Qatar Airways aimed to be “even more trade friendly” post-Covid, adding: “We value the trade in the UK incredibly. Throughout the pandemic we’ve kept staff off furlough so that agents can get answers on the same day.”

Kershaw said the airline in general wanted to “emerge from the pandemic in a stronger position that we went into it”, and believes its record on refunds and flexibility of fare options will stand it in good stead.

In a statement, Qatar Airways group chief executive Akbar Al-Baker, said: “Working collaboratively with trade partners is pivotal to our business success, so we are pleased to stand truly in partnership with our agents, rather than introduce artificial barriers, restrict content, add surcharges or apply complex administrative changes to the booking process.

“Oryx Connect will provide best-in-class booking and servicing capability to our agents and their customers at all levels of technological integration, and through multiple modes of connectivity, from the most familiar existing booking environments to the leading edge of flight retailing solutions.”