Airlines to switch to near 100 percent e-ticketing
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Airlines to switch to near 100 percent e-ticketing

Wednesday, 28 May 2008, 07:00 Hrs
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New Delhi: Come June 1 and airlines around the world will switch to near 100 percent e-ticketing though small quantities of the paper variety will continue to be issued.

"Globally, 96.8 percent of airline tickets issued from June 1 will be of the electronic variety. India will be 95 percent compliant, rising gradually to 100 percent," Ankur Bhatia, managing director of the Indian arm of global ticketing major Amadeus, told reporters here Wednesday.

"Only those airlines that do not have a BSP (billing and settlement plan) in place will be able to issue paper tickets and they are in the process of migrating to the new system," he added.

Currently, it costs an airline $5-9 to issue a paper ticket. E-ticketing will thus result in global savings of $3 billion every year, said Bhatia, who is also the executive director of the diversified 2.5 billion ($60 million) Bird Group that has a pan-Indian presence in the country's aviation and hospitality space.

Amadeus India pioneered e-ticketing in the country five years ago and today, 56 percent of all electronic tickets issued in India are through its system.

"We also took the initiative to train CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) personnel (responsible for security at airports) to identify bona fide travellers. We have so far trained 6,000 personnel," Bhatia said.

Detailing the benefits of e-tickets, he said they improved efficiency as no paperwork was involved and allowed for greater and seamless interlining for travellers headed for multiple destinations.

"Besides, it's much safer as you don't have to carry a bulky paper booklet around," Bhatia added.

"E-ticketing has also spawned the start up of travel portals like cleartrip.com and makemytrip.com that are one-stop travel shops in the true sense of the word," he pointed out.

In India, at least, the new regime will result in an unexpected spin-off.

"The machines we had provided to travel agents to print paper tickets have been adapted to print the embarkation cards that international travellers are required to hand over to the immigration authorities at airports.

"Currently, these are being physically handed over to passengers. Very soon, these will be provided electronically, with a copy to the airport authorities. This will considerably speed up the immigration process," Bhatia pointed out.
Source: IANS
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