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Airlines body sees end of paper tickets in 2008

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced on Monday that it had placed its final order for paper tickets and from June 1, 2008, all tickets issued through its settlement system would be electronic.

The Geneva-based body said it had made its last order from seven specialized printers for some 16.5 million paper tickets to meet the needs of world markets until May 31, 2008. “This is the ‘last call’ for paper tickets ... And in just 278 more days, the paper ticket will become a collector’s item,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATAs director-general and CEO.

Bisignani said it had been more than three years since IATA launched the drive for 100% e-ticketing as part of its Simplifying the Business initiative. “E-ticketing went from 16% in June 2004 to 84% today,” he said. IATA represents over 240 airlines comprising 94% of international scheduled air traffic. Through its billing and settlement plan, the body issues over 400 million tickets annually.

“We are changing an industry with tangible benefits for travelers, agents, airlines and the environment,” said Bisignani. „E-ticketing is a winning proposition for everyone.” According to IATA, the cost saving of $9 on every e-ticket will add up to $3 billion in annual savings for the industry. In addition, eliminating paper will save the equivalent of 50,000 mature trees each year. (