American-Sabre NDC integration is on 'pause,' AA official says

Sabre’s integration of American Airlines NDC-enabled content has been halted since late in the summer, according to an American official who is familiar with the integration project.

“We spent three years to bring that integration live,” the official said, adding that American had expected to have NDC-enabled content available with the Sabre GDS by the end of summer 2021.

“At the end of the summer they decided to pause development with us; we are still on that pause,” the person said.

The official’s comments came in the aftermath of a Dec. 10 Sabre webinar, in which the company’s head of NDC product management, Rolando Philps, listed American among the five airlines for which Sabre is currently offering NDC-enabled content. The other four, Philps said, are United, Singapore Airlines, Finnair and Qantas. NDC-enabled content for those airlines is either generally available in the Sabre GDS or available via a pilot program, Philps said.

The American official said Philps’ assertion was inaccurate.

“We are not in a pilot with them right now,” the person said last week, adding, “we don’t have the full insight into what drove the decision within Sabre.”

Sabre declined to comment on the status of NDC activity with American on Monday, offering only a general statement about its NDC program.

“While the past two years have been challenging for the industry, Sabre has continued to invest in our NDC program, collaborating with customers and integrating more content and capabilities to ensure we seize the opportunity that NDC creates,” the company said.

Sabre and American continue to battle in court over Sabre’s New Airline Storefront flight shopping display, which the GDS deploys within its Sabre Red interface. In June, American sued Sabre, claiming that the display, which Sabre developed with assistance from Delta, biases search results toward Delta.

Sabre disputes those allegations and has accused American of being afraid of innovation. The Tarrant County, Texas, case is currently moving toward a trial.

Meanwhile, American is moving toward U.S. point-of-sale NDC integrations with Sabre competitors Amadeus and Travelport. American says it will complete its integration into the Amadeus Travel Platform for North American points of sale sometime early next year. The American official also said that American content should go live within the Travelport GDS for U.S. points of sale during the first half of next year.

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