Say goodbye to paper tickets

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has bid farewell to
the paper ticket on the eve of the industry’s conversion to 100%
electronic ticketing.

“Today we say goodbye to an industry icon,” said Giovanni
Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “The paper
ticket has served us well, but its time is over. After four years of
hard work by airlines around the world, tomorrow marks the beginning of
a new, more convenient and more efficient era for air travel.”

Paper tickets date back to the 1920s. Each airline used a different
form with varying rules. Airlines soon recognised the need for
standardisation of traffic documents, regulations and procedures to
support the growth of an industry that spanned the world. In 1930, the
IATA Traffic Committee developed the first standard hand-written ticket
for multiple trips. These same standards served the industry into the
early 1970s.

The organisations says a paper ticket costs an average of US$10 to
process versus US$1 for an electronic ticket. With over 400 million
tickets issued through IATA’s settlement systems annually, the
industry will save over US$3 billion each year.

To complete the conversion IATA has contacted 60,000 travel agents in
more than 200 countries to collect the remaining unused paper tickets
in the system – some 32 million worldwide. These will be securely
reclaimed, destroyed and recycled. “An era has ended. If you have
a paper ticket, it’s time to donate it to a museum,” said

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