Airlines e-ticketing yet to take off

Mumbai, Nov 13 | Updated: Nov 14 2005, 05:30am hrs
Only 5.4% of tickets sold in India are through e-ticketing while the global e-ticketing penetration is already at 33%, according to a report by International Air Transport Association (IATA). The global e-ticketing penetration was targeted to hit 40% by the end of 2005.

Commenting on the low penetration in Indian market, IATA director general and CEO Giovanni Bisignani, It is extremely disappointing that a country as advanced in software development as India can be so far behind. Industry experts attribute the poor response in e-ticketing to poor infrastructure and state of Internet penetration in the country. The investment to put the central reservation system is close to $1 million per airline company. However, the investments are turning out to be futile, as evident from the low e-ticketing bookings.

Jet Airways manager (e-commerce & distribution) Belson Coutinho says, 90% of the bookings of Jet Airways tickets are through travel agents and the remaining 10% is through the Internet, including Jet Airways counters which also use the e-ticketing model.

Moreover, in India there are only 50 travel agents permitted to operate using the e-ticketing model. Observes Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI) secretary Deepak Maheshwari: Online payment and less access to Internet are the major hindrance to e-ticketing model. Even people having credit cards are sometimes not willing to share their card number fearing frauds.

IATA has set its target for 100% e-ticketing by 2007. Some airlines view this deadline a bit too early, while others lament that the pace of e-ticketing implementation is too slow. If the model becomes successful, it will result in a cost savings of $3 billion per annum.