Rwandair Express has ceased using paper tickets. The national carrier has switched to electronic ticketing beating the International Air Transport Association June 1 deadline.
Jimray Steven Nangawe, Head of Revenue Department Rwandair describes the shifting to e-ticketing as impressive.
“Rwandair is proud to be among the airlines that have implemented the technology and our passengers now fully enjoy the benefits of this important innovation,” a statement sent to The New Times yesterday says.
The airline has also signed inter-line agreement with seven carriers to facilitate the e-ticketing.
Nangawe said that they are monitoring the system closely and training staff to adapt to the e-ticketing.
“This is where our money and business belongs, so we tried hard to make sure every thing was on the right track to be at par with other regional and international carriers,” he said.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) had targeted 100 per cent conversion to e-ticketing by June 1 in a move aimed at saving the airlines spiraling costs.
According to the association, which represents 93 per cent of international scheduled air traffic, the move to paperless tickets would eventually save the industry $3 billion (Sh186 billion) a year with over 50,000 trees saved.
A paper ticket costs an average $10 (Sh620) to process while an e-ticket only costs a dollar.
“With over 400 million tickets issued through IATA’s systems annually, the industry will be able to save billions of dollars each year,” IATA’s director general and CEO, Giovanni Bisignani, said.
E-ticketing, just like paper ticketing, is a way of documenting a sale for both the passenger and the airline. The information is stored in a database to track the sale and use of tickets as opposed to the use of paper as was previously the case.
The move by the aviation industry means that customers only need a confirmation number and their passports or identification card to board a plane. The new system is expected to cut long queues at airline desks, travel agents and check-in counters as all processes can be done over the Internet.
The e-ticketing project was launched in June, 2004 with $1.3 million being invested in the project. By then only 19 per cent of the industry was paperless.
Mr Bisignani said the move would see the industry as a whole move to a more convenient and efficient era for air travel.
Management of Rwandair said the airline’s offices and all destination including Nairobi, Bujumbura, Entebbe, Kilimanjaro, Johannesburg and Kamembe are now issuing the e-tickets.
The airline has also patterned with Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, South African Airways, KLM, Precision Air, Qatar Airways and Air Tanzania to start interline e-ticketing.
“We are also about to finalise test with NW (North West Airlines in America) and Brussels Airlines,” the statement said.