The Jakarta Post reported this morning that the International Air Transportation Industry (IATA) indicated that the air travel industry needs to achieve 100% e-ticketing in order to simplify its business. Soaring fuel prices and the spectre of a global economic downturn will result in lower profits in 2008, despite a steady growth in passenger numbers. Against this back-drop, a $US3billion saving through jettisoning paper tickets would be most welcome. (1/15/2008)
Indonesia is among the countries in the strongest position to bring an all e-ticketing (ET) system with 92% penetration, and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region is equally well-positioned to take advantage of the savings afforded by the magic 100% ET.
Self-service check-ins can be harnessed in a similar cost-cutting fashion, but here the Asia-Pacific region is still behind with only 30% of passengers using this service compared with 47% and 42% in the US and Europe respectively. Such facilities are reported to greatly improve customer satisfaction by giving the speed, convenience and control that tomorrow’s passengers demand.
However, looking to the future, perhaps Asia will lead the way with leap-frog mobile technology such as bar-coded boarding passes delivered via text to mobile handsets. Such technology must not only be available but universally adopted if Asia-Pacific is to ride-out the slowing of growth predicted by Swiss private bank Julius Baer last Friday (Singapore, 11 Jan, Reuters). Despite Asia-Pacific experiencing the strongest consumer demand of any global region, banks are predicting a reduction of what they term revenue-increase - although it should remain in the double-digit zone.
As the US economic slowdown knocks-on and directly restricts air travel growth while creating a less-favourable economic out-look, airlines with the oldest aircraft will be the hardest hit as fuel-inefficiencies magnify jet-fuel price rises. It is then that savings through ET and self-service check-in may be vital.