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Airlines to issue only e-tickets from June 1
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Sources from domestic ticket agencies yesterday said global air-ticket agents including China will stop selling paper tickets from June 1, according to today's Beijing News.

International Air Transport Association (IATA) has set June 1, 2008, as the deadline to stop issuing paper tickets, which means that it will only use e-tickets from that date on.

Zhang Wei, ticket sector account supervisor from Ctrip.com, China's top online travel agent, said e-ticketing has gained popularity in China since October 16, 2006, and most passengers have taken e-tickets in place of paper tickets.

A survey done by Ctrip.com shows 97.37 percent of 13,044 interviewed said they will choose e-ticketing as their first choice.

"Ending the use of paper tickets can help reduce airlines' cost," said Zhang.

Domestic airlines said one e-ticket can save more than 20 yuan ($2.88) compared with a paper ticket in terms of printing, sales and transportation costs.

Figures from IATA said the popularity of global e-ticket has breached 93 percent, saving $6.5 billion annually, compared with only 18 percent of e-tickets when launched the program in June of 2004.

Currently in China, 99 percent of domestic flights use e-ticketing, but only 40 percent of international flights use it.

Air China said it is ready to fully use e-ticketing. Currently 97 percent of its domestic and 55.5 percent of its international flights issue e-tickets to passengers.

Twenty-six overseas airlines declared they have charged or will charge additional fees on paper tickets in a bid to promote e-ticketing.

Kenya Airways began charging an extra 200 yuan from November 10, 2007. Previously, leading airlines such as American Airlines, Air Canada, Continental Airlines and Singapore Airlines began charging $50 to $300 in additional fees for paper tickets.

But, the travel agents association of India is seeking government intervention to stop the enforcement of an all-e-ticketing system in India, especially when their national carrier, Air India, itself is not 100 percent e-ticket-enabled.

(Chinadaily.com.cn May 27, 2008)

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