Airline ticketing now paperless

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 03 Jun 2008

The airline industry this weekend phased out paper tickets in a bid to save $3 billion a year. However, this may not be enough to stave off the collapse of many airlines in the face of record fuel prices.

International Air Transport Association (IATA) director-general and CE Giovanni Bisignani yesterday compared the airline industry to Sisyphus - a mythical character whose fate was to constantly carry heavy loads uphill.

Speaking at IATA`s 64th annual general meeting and World Air Transport Summit, in Istanbul, Turkey, Bisignani said most airlines are now struggling for survival and massive changes are needed.

"Airlines transport 2.3 billion passengers safely and efficiently. Over $3.5 trillion of business and 32 million jobs depend on our success."

Bisignani says airline governance needs urgent attention. He argues the airline industry will only survive if the skies are liberalised.

"Airlines would be free to innovate, compete, grow, become financially healthy or even disappear. Governments also have an important role: to ensure a level playing field and regulate safety, security and environmental performance," says Bisignani.

Governments must also standardise on security requirements. "Security is an uncoordinated mess."

He says IATA`s "Simplifying Passenger Travel programme" already points the way to effective, efficient and convenient security. "Now governments must do their part and focus on risk management, harmonise global standards, make better use of technology, and take responsibility for the bill."

A "shining light" in this is the introduction of 100% e-ticketing on 1 June. "Four years ago, we had a vision to modernise our business with technology, improve convenience and save $6.5 billion.

"Today that vision is a reality. E-freight operates at six locations, three more are about to start and we expect 14 by the end of the year. Bar-coded boarding passes are being used by 135 airlines. And millions of passengers enjoy the convenience of common use self-service check-in at 94 airports.

"But the star of the show is e-ticketing. Today we celebrate a great achievement. The paper ticket is history. Everyone can enjoy the convenience of e-ticketing everywhere. And we are saving $3 billion annually," says Bisignani.

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