China's airline industry entered a new era in air travel on June 1, as carriers nationwide stopped using paper tickets and began to adopt electronic tickets.
This move was in answer to a 2006 call by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which called for carriers worldwide to adopt the widely-used e-ticket.
An official from Youee.com, one of the country's biggest on-line e-ticket agents, said Chinese travelers could look forward to easier travel by using the new format.
He said passengers could change, re-endorse or cancel their e-tickets through the Internet or telephone; they didn't have bother with physically going to a travel agency or airline ticket office.
Currently, e-tickets are generally used by most domestic carriers. Only a handful of international carriers and some for pertaining to infant tickets accepted paper ones.
"Electronic tickets will entirely replace paper tickets by the end of the year," said the expert, adding prices were expected to fall because operation costs would be reduced by using electric tickets.
Paper tickets date back to the 1920s. The first e-ticket was issued in 1994. IATA adopted a global standard for e-ticketing in 1997 but the evolution was slow. By May 2004, only 19 percent of global tickets were electronic.
(Xinhua News Agency June 2, 2008)