FCM Travel Solutions and parent company Flight Centre Travel Group have established a Global Airline Distribution Team to spearhead industry collaboration between technology and GDS providers, TMCs and airlines in developing solutions to book and service NDC content.
Appointed to lead the Global Airline Distribution Team is Executive General Manager – Global Air Distribution for Flight Centre Travel Group, Jason Toothman, based in the USA. He joins from Sabre Travel Network, where his extensive 15-year career spanned diverse senior sales, account management and airline distribution roles.
Toothman’s most recent position was Vice President Global Accounts APAC based in Brisbane where he led a team responsible for agency sales, customer relationship management, contract negotiations and operational support across the region. Now he’ll work closely with airline suppliers and third-party technology providers across multiple markets to help frame and execute the company’s strategy and direction related to airline connectivity and content procurement globally.
Also on the new team is Nicola Ping who has been appointed as Manager, Air Content & Distribution, Flight Centre Travel Group EMEA, based in London.
Ping joins from British Airways, where she had been Manager of Distribution Technology since 2015, working closely with IATA to build the airline’s internal NDC technology offering. She was also responsible for educating corporate and leisure agencies externally on British Airways’ NDC content.
Additionally, Ping represented British Airways on IATA’s Passenger Distribution Management Group. Her 10-year career with the airline also includes extensive experience in global pricing and revenue management roles. In her new role she’ll be responsible for driving technology strategy for air content with the company’s partners and internal development teams.
The new FCM team includes Jason Nooning, General Manager – Global Air Distribution, based in Brisbane, Australia. He has held this role for the past year representing Flight Centre Travel Goup at key industry forums including IATA’s Passenger Distribution Management Group Advisory Forum and Business Travel Summit. Nooning has been actively engaging with stakeholders around the world to discuss and define partnership strategies which capitalise on the capabilities of NDC.
Marcus Eklund, Global General Manager, FCM Travel Solutions commented: “One of the biggest factors influencing corporate travel in 2019 will be distribution as NDC content becomes more of a reality. Our goal has always been to balance the short-term priorities of NDC with building a long-term sustainable booking solution with our technology partners, including Amadeus and Sabre, in collaboration with our key airline suppliers.
“Together with our parent company, we have created the Global Airline Distribution Team to drive this long-term solution forwards, not just for ourselves as a leading global travel management company, but to better help airlines connect with our corporate customers and their travellers,” added Eklund. “Nicola Ping brings valuable experience of NDC from an airline perspective, while Jason Toothman has extensive insight from the GDS and distribution standpoint. Our team of experts have already played a key part in leading NDC conversations with airlines and our technology partners and we believe we are in a great position to drive adoption of NDC in 2019 and beyond.”
Eklund concluded: “The team is already undertaking high-level workshops and meetings with Amadeus and British Airways and we expect to start running several pilots in Q2 this year to search, book and service NDC content across multiple channels. As an active member of IATA’s Global Travel Management Executive Council, FCM is also working collaboratively with other major TMCs to ensure NDC benefits all parties.”