Era of paper tickets for air travel is over
DUBAI - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has launched a new era in air travel as it bid farewell to the paper ticket with the industry's conversion to 100 per cent electronic ticketing.
"In four years, we achieved what many thought was impossible. We made 100 per cent a reality everywhere - from our largest hubs to small remote island airports with no electricity. It is an incredible industry achievement," Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's Director-General and CEO, said on Sunday.
Paper tickets date back to the 1920s. In 1930, the IATA Traffic Committee developed the first standard handwritten ticket for multiple trips.
The first e-ticket was issued in 1994. By May 2004, only 19 per cent of global tickets were electronic.
"The benefits to the business are real," said Bisignani.
A paper ticket costs an average of $10 to process versus $1 for an electronic ticket. With over 400 million tickets issued through IATA's settlement systems annually, the industry will save over $3 billion each year.
Consumers can look forward to easier travel in an electronic world. Hundred per cent e-tickets eliminate possibility of lost tickets.
Electronic ticket can easily be changed and reissued without necessitating a trip to a travel agency or airline ticket office. And they enable a wide array of self-service options such as online and mobile check-in.
While IATA will no longer issue paper ticket stock, IATA paper tickets issued by travel agents before June 1 remain valid for travel under the conditions they were purchased. Paper tickets may still be provided by an airline from its own offices or from a travel agent, although it is anticipated the volumes will be very low.
To complete the conversion, IATA has contacted 60,000 travel agents in nearly 200 countries to collect the remaining unused paper tickets in the system Ñ some 32 million worldwide.
These will be securely reclaimed, destroyed and recycled. "An era has ended. If you have a paper ticket, it's time to donate it to a museum," said Bisignani.