Some 89% of the continent`s airlines have abandoned paper.Only 89% of African airlines subscribing to the International Air
Transport Association`s Billing Settlement Programme (BSP) are ready for the
change to e-ticketing at the end of this month. This compares with the global
average of 95%.
Africa has numerous airlines, but only 34 are accredited with IATA, which is phasing out paper plane tickets on 31 May and will only transact electronically from 1 June.
IATA says it costs a single US dollar to process an e-ticket, opposed to at least $10 for paper. The BSP handled 300 million paper tickets last year and IATA projects the move to e-tickets will save airlines $3 billion a year at a time of rapidly escalating fuel prices which has brought about the collapse of several airlines around the world in recent months, including Nationwide in SA.
While the non-conforming 11% of African airlines will be able to continue issuing paper tickets, they will not be able to use the BSP until they come online. An IATA spokesman says the organisation is assisting those airlines to migrate to the digital age.
IATA says e-ticketing holds numerous advantages for parties other than financially pressed airlines. For their customer it means stress-free ticketing, no tickets to lose and no last minute queues for tickets on departure, together with greater opportunities for using self-service kiosks.
For the travel agent, e-ticketing means greater opportunities to manage the travel experience by being able to make changes to the actual ticket while the customer is on the telephone.