Jakarta - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) today began an important countdown - 100 days to 100% e-ticketing. “In 100 days the paper ticket gets put in a museum. On June 1, 2008 we will achieve 100% electronic ticketing,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

IATA began the drive to 100% 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 US$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 US$10 to process, e-ticketing reduces that cost to US$1. The industry will save over US$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% of tickets issued globally were e-tickets. Today e-ticketing penetration is over 93%. “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 remain. E-ticketing penetration in Africa is only 83% and has reached 84% in Middle East North Africa (MENA). The real concern is Russia and CIS, which is at 54% due to a late start while the government changed legislation to allow for e-tickets. “Combined, these regions represent 8% of total volume. IATA’s 150 experts are working with the airlines in these regions to close the gap quickly. If we can bring the convenience of e-ticketing even to small remote island airports with no electricity, I am confident that with some hard work in the final stretch we will be successful,” said Bisignani.

Consumers can anticipate more convenient travel in an electronic world. 100% ET eliminates lost tickets, makes itinerary changes easy and enables a wide array of self-service options.

“We are entering a new age for air travel. The consumer has spoken. They love the convenience of e-ticketing and now want to combine it with self-service options to have more control over their journey,” said Bisignani. “We are already seeing the ET effect. Online and kiosk check-in are at all time highs. Even newly introduced mobile phone check-in is rapidly gaining popularity. IATA is pushing Simplifying the Business to the next level with its FastTravel project. FastTravel will bring a wide array of self-service options, in a streamlined process, from reservation to arrival.”

Bisignani made his comments in Jakarta, Indonesia where he is meeting local and national aviation officials on a range of issues. With e-ticketing at 95.5%, Indonesia is ahead of the global average and well positioned to meet the 100% deadline by 1 June.

Editors Notes:

  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents over 240 airlines comprising 94% of international scheduled air traffic.
  • In 2004 some 69 airlines, comprising 56% of ticketing volumes were ET enabled. As at the end of January 2007 269 airlines comprising 99.7% of ticket volumes were issuing electronic tickets.
  • In Africa, where infrastructure and investment capacity made electronic ticketing more challenging, 28 airlines now offer ET versus the 2 that were enabled in 2004.
  • IATA has 150 staff supporting its Simplifying the Business programme.
  • IATA invested US$1.3 million in an ET Buddy Programme to provide free consulting to airlines needing assistance in launching their ET projects.
  • Since June 2004 IATA has held 23 workshops worldwide to support ET implementation.
  • The IATA Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) is a system by which IATA, as an independent third party, manages the transfer of money derived from cash sales of airline tickets between travel agents and airlines.
  • IATA has 80 BSPs covering more than 162 countries and territories that handle some US$218 billion annually.