IATA: Worldwide e-ticketing in 100 days

Jakarta, Indonesia: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said that it has begun an important countdown -100 days to 100 per cent e-ticketing. ''In 100 days the paper ticket gets put in a museum. On June 1, 2008 we will achieve 100 per cent electronic ticketing,'' said Giovanni Bisignani, director general and CEO, IATA.

IATA began the drive to 100 per cent e-ticketing as part of its Simplifying the Business programme in June 2004 with the dual goals of making travel and shipping more convenient and more cost efficient.

The programme began with five projects-Bar Coded Boarding Passes (BCBP), Common Use Kiosks for Self Service (CUSS), RFID for aviation, e-ticketing and e-freight with annual industry savings of $6.5 billion. It has since expanded to include the self-service oriented Fast Travel project and an industry Baggage Improvement Programme.

''E-ticketing is the flagship project of Simplifying the Business. While a paper ticket costs $10 to process, e-ticketing reduces that cost to $1. The industry will save over $3 billion each year by offering the passenger a better service. There is no better win-win proposition,'' said Bisignani.

When the programme began in June 2004, only 18 per cent of tickets issued globally were e-tickets. Today e-ticketing penetration is over 93 per cent. ''It is an incredible industry success story. When we began over 28 million paper tickets were issued each month. We have reduced that number to less than 3 million,'' said Bisignani.

Challenges to the programme remain, with e-ticketing penetration in Africa at 83%, and at 84 per cent for the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region.  The region that poses the deepest concern, according to IATA, is Russia and the CIS, which have e-ticketing penetration at 54 per cent mainly because of a late start as governments in the region changed legislation to allow for e-tickets.