Ashwini Phadnis

SOON it is going to be paperless travel with Indian Airlines. The airline recently signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with a European company for e-ticketing on its entire network, covering 57 destinations within the country and 20 abroad.

The introduction of e-ticket, which is a ticket data bank stored in an electronic data base, will provide a whole host of benefits for the passengers, airlines and travel agents, according Indian Airlines officials.

For the passengers it should end the worry of lost or stolen ticket, as also oftickets being delivered to them as they would only carry a print-out for travel. Check-in is also likely to become faster as the airline staff will not have to tear off the ticket jacket.

However, e-ticketing will not make any change in the reporting procedures for the passengers and they will be required to carry some form of identification. The introduction of the system is also likely to lead to easier processing of exchange and refund request by passengers, the officials said.

The airline could see huge cost savings from the new system as the ticket distribution costs are likely to come down. Besides, the labour intensive process of handling tickets will become a thing of the past, the officials said.

Indian Airlines will also be able to follow passenger movement real time and know whether a passenger has checked in, boarded or flown.

In addition interline agreements that allow the use of the same documents on another airline will also become easier; Indian Airlines has an interline agreement with more than 130 international carriers.

e-ticketing, which the officials say will become operational soon, will see Indian Airlines join a growing list of airlines globally that have either gone in for this mode or are committed to it. It was estimated that by the beginning of last year in the US and Europe alone e-ticket penetration would reach about 80 per cent.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 8, 2005)
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