IATA calls time on paper ticketing

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the airline industry body, places its last order for paper tickets.

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By  Michele Howe Published  August 29, 2007

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the airline industry body, said this week it has placed its last order for paper tickets, paving the way for air travel to be entirely electronic-based from 1 June next year.

"In just 278 more days, the paper ticket will become a collector's item," said Giovanni Bisignani, director general of IATA.

Regional airlines originally lagged behind airlines in other parts of the world in making the conversion from paper to electronic ticketing, but have recently picked up the pace. As of July 2007, airlines in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region had a 58.4% electronic ticketing penetration rate, in comparison to an overall rate of 84%, according to the latest statistics from IATA.

The MENA region still had the lowest penetration rate overall, however, with the exception of the CIS region, which had a rate of just 32.7%.

The move to electronic ticketing was introduced three years ago to increase efficiency and cut costs for airline travel.

The deadline for the conversion was originally set for 31 December 2007, but later extended to 31 May 2008.

A spokesperson for IATA said the industry body expects the MENA region will meet the final deadline.

Qatar Airways this week announced it has reached agreements with 50 airlines around the world on interline agreements.

"Qatar Airways is well on schedule to go ticketless on our entire network of 78 destinations worldwide by the end of 2007 despite the extended deadline," the airline's CEO Akbar Al Baker said.

"We have just a handful of outstations left in our network which will be e-ticket compliant and will meet the original December 2007 deadline," he added.

The interlining system allows payment for the entire itinerary in one transaction, regardless of the number of flights and airlines involved.

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