civil aviation

China’s airports to ‘scrap boarding pass on domestic flights as early as next year’

Passengers to show identity cards to pass through checks to board planes, according to Chinese media reports

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 November, 2016, 2:27pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 November, 2016, 4:51pm

Chinese airports may adopt an ID card check-in system as early as next year, which would streamline the process of getting on a plane by skipping the need to show a boarding pass, according to Chinese media reports.

The Chinese authorities have officially approved airports to adopt the system on domestic flights, meaning passengers would be allowed go through security checks with just their ID cards, the National Business Daily quoted Zhang Baojian, the North Asia vice-president of the International Air Transport Association as saying.

The change is expected to save airlines at least 1 billion yuan (HK$1.12 billion) a year, reduce the number of check-in counters by about 5,000 and cut staffing levels, the newspaper said.

It could also ease overcrowding in some Chinese airports, according to the article.

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The technology for the system was developed two years ago, but regulatory approval was only granted recently, Hou Kan, another regional official at the air transport association was quoted as saying.

Passengers will able go through airport customs or security checks by simply scanning their ID cards or have their ID information checked by airport staff to see if it matches computer records, Hou said.

Chinese airports have previously saved about 4 billion yuan a year by replacing paper air tickets with electronic tickets since 2000, Zhang said.

Amid China’s slowing economic growth, the nation’s aviation industry’s prospects appear bright, with more of the nation’s middle class choosing to fly when travelling.

China is set to surpass the United States to become the world’s largest aviation market measured by passenger numbers by 2024, the air transport association predicted earlier this year.

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The number of people flying to, from and within China will almost double to 927 million annually by 2025, from 487 million last year, it said in a statement. Passenger numbers in China will reach 1.3 billion by 2035.

By comparison, passenger numbers in the US will increase to 904 million by 2025 from 657 million last year, according to the forecasts.