;(Taipei) Giovanni Bisignani, Director General and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) visited Taipei on 16-18 June.This was the first visit by an IATA Director General since China Airlines, EVA Air and TransAsia Airlines joined IATA over the last two years.

"This region plays a key role in Asia's air transport infrastructure," said Bisignani. In meetings with airline and government officials, Bisignani emphasized that "as the air transport industry evolves to a new and more efficient cost structure with enhanced passenger convenience all players in the industry have an important role to play."

Bisignani, stopped in Taipei on his way home from the IATA Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit held in Singapore, 6-8 June 2004. At the summit, IATA member airlines agreed that IATA should lead the industry in efforts to simplify industry procedures and processes, particularly those concerned with passenger handling. "Passengers clearly want value for money and will not tolerate paying for complexity," said Bisignani. "To take costs out of the system and enhance passenger convenience, technology is the answer. We will start with 100% e-ticketing by 2007, but our vision covers the entire travel process. IATA will work with all airlines to make sure that we meet this target," said Bisignani.

IATA efforts centre on four core projects:

1. e-ticketing: Implement 100% e-ticketing globally and eliminate paper tickets by 2007. When implemented this will save the industry up to US$3 billion in direct costs alone. The future is "paperless" travel.
2. Common-use self-service kiosks: Achieve an industry standard and implementation plan for common use check-in terminals worldwide. The future is the universal acceptance of self-service kiosks similar to the way consumers have accepted the convenience of multi-bank ATMs.
3. Bar Code Standards: Achieve an industry standard and implementation plan to replace magnetic stripes with bar codes on boarding passes that can be printed by the passenger. The future is reducing lines at airports and reducing airline costs associated airline check-in processes.
4. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) baggage tags: Achieve an industry standard to replace bar coded baggage tags with auto-identifying RFID and work together with the airports to exploit this technology for baggage handling. The future is always knowing exactly where your bag is.

Additionally, Bisignani laid down a challenge for the industry's value chain to make efforts at gaining efficiency. "The current fuel crisis brings into focus the vulnerability of the airline industry to external shocks. Each dollar added to the average price of a barrel of oil over a 12-month period costs the industry US$1 billion. With an average price of US$33 per barrel airlines will break even on the year—but at this time we are looking at another year of losses on top of US$ 30 billion in accumulated losses since 2001," said Bisignani.

"Everybody has to do their part. We look to airports and air traffic service providers to assist not only in our simplifying the business initiative, but also in gaining efficiencies. Taipei's International Airport was among the first to join industry efforts during the SARS period and reduce charges. I hope that this same spirit will persist—the reality is that we all need to cut costs out of the system to survive."


Notes to Editors

1. China Airlines and EVA Air joined IATA in 2002. TransAsia Airlines become an IATA member in 2003.
2. Press photos of Mr. Bisignani and speech materials from the IATA AGM are available on the IATA website: www.iata.org.
3. During Bisignani's visit, he met with the president's of IATA member airlines: Philip Wei, President of China Airlines, Steve Lin, President of EVA Air and Hung Hsiang Sun, President of TransAsia Airlines.
4. Bisignani also met with key government officials including Mr. Oliver Yu, Administrative Vice Minister at the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and Mr. Billy K.C. Chang, Director General at the Civil Aeronautics Administration.
5. IATA represents 275 airlines, comprising 98% of international scheduled air traffic.