E-ticketing plan set for takeoff on the mainland

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 January, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 12 January, 2004, 12:00am

An electronic ticketing scheme for air travel is set to be launched on the mainland in the next few months.

The scheme would be set up by the mainland branch of the International Air Transport Association (Iata), major airlines and Travelsky, the nation's largest computer reservations system provider.

E-ticketing proponents on the mainland said the industry could have saved 1 billion yuan last year if the plan had been in place. Under e-ticketing, travellers receive a confirmation code when they buy seats on flights, rather than a traditional ticket. E-ticketing has been increasingly popular in Hong Kong in the past few years.

Zhang Baojian, Iata director for North Asia, said e-ticketing accounts for 30 per cent of air travel in the US, saving US$3 per ticket. The savings include the cost of printing, storing and transporting tickets, collecting the stubs from airlines and data collection.

Mr Zhang said the mainland industry spent 70 million yuan last year in transport costs alone, while each ticket costs 76 fen to print.

He said the plan would be launched this year between cities such as Beijing and Shanghai or Beijing and Guangzhou.

In the US and Europe, e-ticketing has grown, with the popularity of low-cost airlines and consumers used to buying tickets online. Instead of issuing paper tickets, travel agents will provide a receipt with an authorisation code to be presented at the airport check-in.

'For each passenger, we will save about 20 yuan. We had 50 million transactions last year,' Mr Zhang said.