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Fact Sheet: Concluded StB projects

Electronic Ticketing (ET)

100% Electronic Ticketing

An electronic ticket (ET) holds the information previously held on a paper ticket. It requires a database, integrated with the airline's passenger service systems, that interfaces with all partners for the real time processing of passengers by ground handlers and interline partners


  • 40% implementation by end 2005 (achieved November 2005)
  • 70% implementation by end 2006 (achieved October 2006)
  • 100% implementation of e-ticketing worldwide by end May 2008 (achieved May 2008)


  • Passengers:
    • Easier handling of itinerary changes especially for last minute travel decisions
    • More effective use of internet capabilities for booking travel and check-in
    • No more “lost tickets”
  • Airlines:
    • 100% e-ticketing is saving the industry US$3 billion per year
    • Retention of interline revenue as the whole industry implements ET together
    • Continued access to IATA distribution systems
  • Travel Agents:
    • Eliminates costs of ticket printers, maintenance, and ticket distribution
    • Removes cost and liability of ticket stock control


On 1 June, 2008, IATA Billing and Settlement Plans (BSPs) stopped issuing paper tickets. The ET project has been closed following the successful industry transition to 100% ET.

Cost Savings

  • $3 billion annual savings
  • An e-ticket costs $1 to process versus $10 per paper ticket

 IATA Paper Ticket

Background and History

  • IATA was instrumental in developing the first version of the passenger ticket
  • During the 1920s, each airline used a different form of the passenger ticket with no standard conditions of carriage
  • The industry recognized the need for standardization of traffic documents, regulations and procedures
  • It became the main focus of the IATA Traffic Committee which developed the standard ticket for multiple trips (1930)
  • Warsaw Convention (signed in 1929 implemented in 1933) established the conditions of international air transportation documents and carrier liability
  • IATA developed a neutral paper ticket in 1972 to support the global distribution system that is prevalent today – more than 60,000 travel agents around the world utilize this system
    • This is what has been eliminated by the industry
  • In 1983 IATA established the Automated Ticket and Boarding Pass (ATB)
    • It allowed information to be printed on the face of the ticket and encoded on a magnetic stripe on the back which could be easily read by computer
  • The Montreal Convention of 1999 replaced the Warsaw Convention, introducing the concept of unlimited liability
  • Around the same time document requirements for passenger, baggage and cargo were simplified to take advantage of new information technologies
    • This became the basic foundation for the development and global implementation of the electronic ticket

Key Dates

  • IATA interline manual ticket established: circa 1930
  • Transitional automated ticket (TAT) established: 1971
  • IATA creates standard for Neutral Paper Ticket: 1972
  • IATA launches BSP Japan and Neutral Paper Ticket: 1972
  • Automated Ticket & Boarding Pass (ATB) established: 1983
  • Electronic Ticket (ET) first introduced: 1994
  • IATA global standard for electronic tickets: 1997
  • IATA Board of Governors pass resolution for 100% ET: 2004
  • 100% ET: 1 June 2008

Paper Ticket Types

  • Paper interline ticket – manual, multi-coupon, carbonized ticket
  • Transitional automated ticket – computer printed, multi-coupon, carbonised ticket
  • Automated Ticket & Boarding pass (ATB) – ticket and boarding pass, data encoded on a magnetic stripe

Printing of IATA Paper Tickets

  • Up to 25 printers used
  • Securely shipped to more than 60,000 IATA accredited travel agents in over 200 countries worldwide
  • Most paper tickets printed in one year – 285 million (2005)
  • Annual cost of printing and distribution – over US$20 million/year
  • Printed in some 30 languages

Barcoded Boarding Passes (BCBP)

A barcoded boarding pass contains an industry standard bar code (IATA Resolution 792). It replaces magnetic stripe boarding passes and can hold information for multiple segments and multiple carriers in one single boarding pass


  • 100% BCBP capability by end 2010 (achieved)


  • Passengers:
    • Boarding passes can be printed at home (web check-in)
    • Paperless boarding pass (mobile check-in)
    • One boarding document for the entire journey
  • Airlines:
    • Home printed or mobile boarding passes reduce paper costs by 100%
    • 40% reduction in equipment replacement costs (magnetic stripe encoding equipment can cost up to $5,000/unit)
    • Reduced airport facility requirements as more passengers check in at home or office or mobile


  • The BCBP project successfully closed at the end of 2010

Cost Savings:

  • 100% BCBP brings annual industry savings of up to $1.5 billion
  • Average saving is $3.50 per passenger home check-in
    • Without baggage $5.34 per home check-in

Automated Carrier Baggage Rules (ABR)

  • Airlines are moving away from simple baggage policies and defining their own baggage allowances and charges in accordance with their own commercial policies
  • The existing simplified standard approach to defining baggage allowances and related charges is out of date, especially for interline. The standards that supported this expired at the end of March 2011
  • A new Resolution has been adopted to respond to this market transformation. However, the full automation of baggage rules is required to allow airlines to sell easily, transparently and accurately their baggage product via any distribution channel and check-in system. This automation took place before 31 March 2011, when the industry standards expired
  • IATA and Airline Tariff Publishing Company (ATPCO) jointly mobilized industry partners and member airlines to achieve full automation of carrier filed baggage rules on 31 March 2011


  • Six major Global Distribution Systems to use ATPCO database in 2011 (achieved)


  • Airlines
    • Increased revenue from baggage rules being correctly applied through all sales channels
    • Easier, faster and correct handling of baggage at check-in 
    • Fewer costly and time-consuming disputes between airlines
    • A baggage policy that is clear, easy to follow, control and account for
  • Travel Agents
    • Provide correct baggage fares for interline journeys, using a fully automated process
    • Capability to sell pre-paid baggage and excess baggage via their own systems, providing increased productivity and more efficient corporate billing and control
  • Passengers
    • A clear and transparent total fare for the entire journey during purchase
    • Better ability to make decisions as to what baggage to carry
    • No surprises at the check-in desk or transfer desk


  • The ABR project successfully closed in November 2011

Cost Savings:

  • ABR generates $850 million savings per annum

Baggage Improvement Program (BIP)

The Baggage Improvement Program (BIP) was an IATA initiative undertaken between 2008 and 2012. The aim of the program was to reduce the rate of mishandled baggage by improving baggage processes to ensure passengers and their bags were reunited at their final destination. BIP provided the industry with solutions that addressed all causes of baggage mishandling.


  • Conducting 80 one-to-one diagnosis visits and working with 120 airports participants on the Self-Help program (achieved) 
  • During the execution of the program, baggage mishandling fell by 53.2%, above the 50% target set for the program


  • Passengers: fewer bags mishandled
  • Airlines: improved baggage processes leading to reduced costs associated with baggage mishandling


  • Industry mishandling has reduced significantly, and using an industry average figure of $100 per mishandled bag the industry has reduced costs by over $1.9 billion per annum
  • BIP has contributed to a reduction in baggage mishandling from 18.99 bags in 1000 passengers (2007) to 8.99 passengers in 1000 passengers (2011)
    (SITA Baggage Report 2012 figures)

Next steps

While BIP has been successfully completed, baggage handling remains a crucial element of the air transport industry. In its continuous effort to improve services for passengers and lower costs for the industry, IATA has launched “Innovation in Baggage” (InBAG) that will aim to reduce mishandling even further (to an average of 4.5 bags per 1000 passengers by 2016) while improving efficiency and enabling innovation.



Additional information

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