< PrevNext > Moshe Rafiah, Travelfusion CEO NDC's Key Aggregator By Amon Cohen / December 14, 2017 Share As managed travel takes its first steps into the brave new world of New Distribution Capability-enabled direct connects between airlines and corporate clients, one lesson has become clear: Actually, there is no such thing as a direct connect. At least one intermediary is almost always involved. Building a distribution pipe from an airline, even a Web-based one, "is not simple to achieve," Moshe Rafiah said with some understatement. And that is why the name Travelfusion popped up in story after story in 2017, emerging as the first major aggregator of the alternative air distribution era.Rafiah founded London-based Travelfusion in 2000 to bundle application programming interfaces from low-cost carriers and feed their content to online travel agents, travel management companies and other service providers. That experience positioned Travelfusion nicely when full-service carriers decided they wanted to start distributing the same way, via APIs built to NDC standards.Travelfusion now offers APIs from more than 300 suppliers worldwide. The vast majority remain budget carriers, but the number of full-service airlines on the list shot up from two to 14 in 2017, and Rafiah said another dozen are in the pipeline.Perhaps just as significantly, he said, Travelfusion APIs are now taken by nearly all online booking tools. This summer, BTN sister publication The Beat revealed Concur has largely stopped building airline APIs itself. "All we do is call Travelfusion," said a Concur executive. Another milestone was Travelfusion's involvement in a customised connection of Web fares from the U.K. airline Flybe into the KDS booking tool used by PwC.Yet, in spite of the progress, Rafiah is "not going to hide the difficulties" of managed travel making a success of NDC. While Travelfusion and other aggregators can join airlines to TMCs, the TMCs are struggling to integrate those bookings into the back-office systems where they perform essential client functions like feeding traveller tracking tools and creating management information. Although Rafiah said it is "not an area we are interested in strategically," Travelfusion is actively investigating building technology to solve this problem for TMCs in 2018.