Modern Airline Retailing is revolutionising aviation

Tamur Goudarzi Pour

Since the introduction of the New Distribution Capability (NDC) industry standard in 2015, the trajectory of Modern Airline Retailing has seen a steady ascent.

In 2022, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) took a decisive step forward by establishing the Modern Airline Retailing programme, aimed at fostering customer-centricity and value creation within the airline sector. This initiative garnered support from a consortium of leading airlines, including industry giants like American Airlines, Air France-KLM, British Airways, Emirates, Finnair, Iberia, Lufthansa Group, Oman Air, Singapore Airlines, and Xiamen Airlines.

“The revolution of Modern Airline Retailing has already started – the train has left the station,” Tamur Goudarzi Pour, Head of Customer Excellence Taskforce & Head of Customer Experience Lufthansa Group Airlines at Swiss International Air Lines, tells TTN in an interview. “The ticket number, the PNR – all this is legacy technology. We have to come to a modern Offers and Orders system. And this is something I’m pushing in all of my engagements.”

At the core of Modern Airline Retailing lies IATA’s One ID framework, designed to enhance the passenger experience through advanced information sharing and contactless processes facilitated by biometric identification at airports. This integration aims to streamline operations and optimize the travel journey for passengers worldwide.


The revolution of Modern Airline Retailing has already started – the train has left the station
– Tamur Goudarzi Pour


The shift towards NDC-based systems has unlocked a plethora of new products and services that were previously inaccessible through traditional distribution channels.

To facilitate this transition, a whitepaper titled “IT Provider Readiness and Airline Transition Pathways” has been released, outlining the crucial role of IT in enabling airlines to adapt to the demands of modern retailing.

 Olivier Hours, Head of Distribution Strategy at IATA, explained, “The whitepaper encapsulates the findings and conclusions of over 40 hours of conversations with 15 IT providers, all of which also supplied some 30 pages of written information in response to a detailed questionnaire.”

Moreover, the whitepaper underscores the importance of a gradual transition that allows for the coexistence of modern and legacy systems, ensuring seamless business continuity throughout the transformation process. This phased approach enables airlines to integrate new modules while gradually phasing out legacy systems, ultimately paving the way for a fully modernized retailing environment.

Pour of Swiss International Air Lines reiterates the commitment of industry leaders towards embracing this change, stating, “As industry leaders, the Lufthansa Group airlines have driven and joined the IATA Airline Retailing Consortium as founding members.”

He emphasized the consortium’s role in achieving the goals of the Modern Airline Retailing program, heralding a new era of collaboration and synergy within the industry.

Looking ahead, Pour emphasizes the importance of engaging customers through innovative loyalty programmes and personalized experiences, envisioning a future where airlines leverage technology to foster meaningful interactions with their clientele.

He emphasizes, “In the future, it’s very important to find the customer where they actually interact about travel and to engage with them as early as possible.”

Modern Airline Retailing represents a pivotal shift in the aviation industry, driven by a collective commitment to innovation and customer-centricity. With airlines at the forefront of this transformation, passengers can expect a more seamless and personalized travel experience in the years to come, ushering in a new era of aviation excellence.

Muhammad Albakri, IATA’s Senior Vice President, Financial Settlement and Distribution Services was quoted as saying by the IATA website: “Buying air travel online should be as simple as customers would expect. And when a change needs to be made either because travel plans have changed or there is a disruption, that too should ultimately be seamless. Additionally, in a world of Offers and Orders (tenants of modern airline retailing), airlines will no longer have to rely on bespoke systems built around legacy standards and processes that are unique to air travel, encouraging new competitors to enter the market.”