IATA prolongs e-ticketing deadline

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the airline industry body, has extended its e-ticketing deadline until 31 May 2008.

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By  Michele Howe Published  June 6, 2007

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the airline industry body, has extended its e-ticketing deadline until 31 May 2008.

The move was announced during the organisation's AGM, which took place June 4-5 in Vancouver, Canada.

The prolonging of the deadline gives welcome reprieve to regional carriers, some of which, including Saudi Arabian Airlines, have been slow in making the conversion from paper to electronic ticketing.

The deadline for airlines to switch was originally set for December 31 this year.

IATA said it had decided on the five-month extension to help airlines behind schedule due to late starts as well as to enable a greater percentage of tickets to be converted.

Airlines in the Middle East have lagged behind airlines in the rest of the world in making the conversion to e-ticketing. As of April 2007, airlines in the Middle East and North Africa region had a 43% electronic ticketing penetration rate, in comparison to an overall rate of 80%.

The Middle East was ahead of the CIS region, however, which as of April 2007 had a electronic penetration rate of just 16%.

IATA said it expects 89% of regional airlines to have converted by the end of this year.

Airlines that fail to convert in time can continue to operate, but will have to issue their own tickets as IATA will no longer be handling paper ones.

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