E-ticketing boost for China

China World Trade Corporation announced that 75% of its air-ticket sales has been achieved through electronic air-ticketing by its subsidiary Guangdong New Generation Commercial Management Limited will cautiously prepare for the complete implementation of electronic air-ticketing by 2007 all over China. Figures showed that the E-ticket sales revenue nationwide in 2005 was US $530 million, which is 5 times to US $120 million as recorded in 2003. It is also estimated that the E-ticket sales revenue will be reaching over US $630 million in 2006.

International Air Transport Association (’‘IATA’‘) has targeted to replace paper air-tickets with E-tickets in 2007 all around the globe. Being an IATA member, China has successfully implemented E-ticketing through the IATA Billing & Settlement Plan (’‘BSP’‘) in more than 83 Chinese cities. As of February 23, 2006, an average of 40% of air-ticket sales in Chinese IATA BSP travel agencies was in fact achieved through E-ticketing. Big Chinese cities like Beijing, Chengdu, Haikou have recorded an even higher proportion of 55% or above.

In the meantime, almost all China domestic airlines have joined the E- ticketing BSP system, such as China International Airlines (Beijing), China Eastern Airlines (Shanghai), Shanghai Airlines (Shanghai) and Hainan Airlines (Haikou). By such arrangement, it is estimated that China may even complete the switch to E-ticketing as early as the end of 2006.

Huge benefits come along with E-ticketing implementation. Chinese customer will not worry about the ticket lost and no last minute queues for tickets on departure. Travel agent will be able to make changes to the actual ticket whilst the customer is on the phone, and for airlines, it is estimated that approximately 9 US dollars in savings could be made when an E-ticket is issued instead of a paper ticket.

‘‘We hold a positive but cautious view to E-ticketing in China, convinced by the promising growth rate of the sales all over the country. 75% of our air-ticket sales through NG are now in fact E-tickets,” said Mr. William Tsang, President of CWTD, ‘‘Given the lack of a comprehensive electronic payment in China, however, most consumer are actually paying cash off-the-line. Despite that real E-ticketing purchased online is still a dream to come true, we will keep track of the technology development and stay in touch with the latest trend in the ticketing area.’‘