Airlines switch to e-ticketing
Three days from now paper airline tickets will be history, saving airlines billions of dollars in operating costs globally as they struggle to cope with soaring aviation fuel costs and the economic turmoil, GN reported.
The decision by all 240 member airlines belonging to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to switch to electronic ticketing will also help save 50,000 trees annually, according to the agency.
The ubiquitous paper ticket comes to the end of its life on Sunday, but those issued before the deadline will still be valid for the travel dates indicated on them. "From June 1, no travel agent will be able to issue a paper ticket," AFP quoted an IATA spokesman as saying.
Much of the electronic ticketing will be done through the internet, saving travellers the hassle of visiting a travel agent to collect their tickets.
Dubai-based Emirates, which embraced paperless tickets since its inception in 2004, recently became 100 per cent e-ticket enabled across all its online destinations. Most other airlines in the region have also been promoting e-tickets as the norm much ahead of the official IATA deadline. IATA members account for 94 per cent of world airline traffic and by the end of February, 94 per cent of them had already abandoned the rectangle of stiff paper in favour of digital technology.
In Africa, 87 per cent of IATA airlines had made the switch. The issue and handling of a paper ticket costs an airline $10, its electronic replacement $1 on average, the agency estimated.
E-ticketing will enable travellers to be more flexible with their plans, making changes without having to reissue paper tickets and avoiding crises such as lost tickets, IATA said.
The e-ticket regime kicks in as IATA warned that the international airline industry faces a "grim" outlook as soaring fuel costs and economic turmoil hit passenger numbers. "The impact of skyrocketing oil prices and weaker economies has made its way to traffic growth," said IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani. "The industry outlook is grim at best," he warned.
In April, the number of airline passengers grew by just three per cent, against 5.4 per cent in the same month the previous year, IATA said in a statement.