The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a global airline body representing more than 240 airlines, has placed its last order for paper tickets and will move to an all electronic ticketing system by June 1, 2008.
The IATA, which operates all but 6 percent of global international flights, said it had placed its last order for 16.5 million paper tickets to supply the 60,000 accredited IATA travel agents worldwide until May 31.
"This is 'last call' for paper tickets," Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's Director General and CEO, said in the statement. "It's been 38 months since we launched the drive for 100 percent e-ticketing as part of IATA's Simplifying the Business initiative. E-ticketing went from 16 percent in June 2004 to 84 percent today. And in just 278 more days the paper ticket will become a collector's item."
By moving to 100 percent e-ticketing, the airlines will save US$9 per passenger annually, adding up to US$3 billion in savings for the industry, according to the statement. The IATA said doing away with paper tickets will also save 50,000 trees per year.
Currently, IATA's settlement systems issue over 400 million tickets annually.
"We are changing an industry with tangible benefits for travelers, agents, airlines and the environment," said Bisignani. "Consumers enjoy the convenience and flexibility of paperless travel. Agents have the opportunity to broaden the scope of their business and serve their customers remotely. E-ticketing is a winning proposition for everyone."