Global Distribution System and technology giant Amadeus has hit back at criticism that it has failed to embrace innovation.

The firm was singled out for criticism in a presentation by Iata in the US on April 4 at an Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee meeting.

The aviation body claimed Amadeus had been “holding back” implementation of Iata’s New Distribution Capability, an allegation the technology firm described as “completely unfounded”.

In a strongly worded letter to the committee, Amadeus said: “It is Iata itself that has led the industry to a situation where adoption of the new NDC standard is both difficult and costly for the whole industry.”

Amadeus says NDC was approved without any participation from the GDS or travel agency sector, something which “might explain why travel agencies… are not convinced of the benefits of a standard developed for their use but without their input”.

The five-page response points out that until NDC version 17.2 was published by Iata, the standard lacked “essential capabilities” for travel agents and that Amadeus and other GDSs are working with Iata and airlines on improving and developing NDC.

“To the extent that Iata is concerned about a lack of traction of NDC, it is more likely directly related to Iata’s unilateral approach from the outset to the introduction of the NDC standard,” the letter claims.

Amadeus said it has provided feedback from stakeholders to Iata about this, and has been key in identifying bugs in the latest versions of the standard that “clearly shows that there is still a lot of work to do before the standard is stable and fit for purpose, and before broad adoption is feasible”.

The letter adds: “The fact that Iata does not acknowledge the existence of such problems and does not publicly credit the valuer of Amadeus’s contribution is disappointing.”

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