IATA Invokes [Almost] Paper-free Travel

Back in August 2007, the IATA called to put an end to paper airline tickets and moved for a 100% e-ticket policy. From June 1st 2008, the policy will finally be put into action as all tickets issued via the IATA’s Billing and Settlement Plan will be electronic.

Empty ticket desk at the airport

It is estimated that the IATA issues over 400 million tickets annually, with around 16% of those currently being in paper format. Specialist printers were ordered last August to print the final batch of some 16.5 million paper tickets to last 60,000 accredited travel agents around the world. From Sunday, all use of those tickets will be stopped.

The move will not only have obvious environmental benefits, but will also save $9 (USD) per ticket, which would total up to saving an incredible $3 billion (USD) every year. Perhaps that can go towards those fuel price hikes, eh?

For years now, I’ve booked flights and checked-in online, but it always seems to be the case that you get to the airport and still end up with bits of paper to actually get on the flight. I think it wouldn’t be too much of a step further to go digital for boarding passes, too. There have been talks of allowing some sort of connection to mobile phones to receive data that acts as your boarding pass, but I’ve yet to see it successfully implemented. Let’s hope it’s not far off.

Recycling the London Olympic Stadium

Plans are being considered to allow a 55,000 seat tier of the London Olympic stadium to be shipped over to Chicago after its use.

London Olympic Stadium

The stadium as it is, is made up of several layers, which includes a base of 25,000 seats, an upper framework and a top tier of 55,000 seats. The idea is that the top level can be removed, split into sections and transported to Chicago for reuse. This would leave a 25,000 stadium for further use in London and allow Chicago to reuse those 55,000 seats for their stadium expansion.

It’s a great idea for lots of reasons. There’s no need to mention the environmental benefits of reusing a seat tier of that size, but it would save both cities a significant amount of money. Chicago would save more on their building works, whilst London could recuperate some of that hard Olympic pound they’ve been flaunting.

The reason Illinois has come into play is because they’re currently favourites to host the 2016 Olympics. However, in reality it could easily go to any of the Olympic bidders. I particularly like the idea that it gives poorer countries a much greater chance of hosting, as there would be a significant reduction in the costs of running the events.

So how well will all this go, and just how likely is it to happen? Well, it’s certainly not the first case of stadia reuse. The Cricket World Cup in Barbados reused some 16,000 seats from one of Germany’s World Cup 2006 stadiums to great success. The project needs to be carefully planned to ensure it can easily be taken apart and all the different sections fit easily onto cargo ships. A nice aside is that construction has started ahead of schedule. It’s easy to be cynical of England’s flagship building-work, but let’s hope it all goes to plan.