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Paperless travel a step closer

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17 December 2010

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BCBP replaces the previous generation of more expensive and less efficient magnetic stripe boarding passes.

Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director general and CEO, said magnetic stripe boarding passes were on their way to a history museum next to the paper ticket.

"After electronic ticketing in 2008, the conversion to BCBP is the next important step to provide passengers with more convenience and choice. "Completing many tasks during the journey will now take seconds with the swipe of a bar code," he said.

The completion of the industry project gives passengers greater choice in checking in at home, at a kiosk, on a mobile device or at an airport check-in counter. BCBP also allows airlines to issue a single, printed boarding pass for multiple flights, simplifying the journey for passengers with flight connections or those travelling on different airlines.

It also opens the door for automated access to premium services. For example, with a scan of a BCBP, eligible passengers can access fast-track security lanes or lounges. Magnetic stripe boarding passes, which have been used since 1983, have several limitations for airlines and passengers that the bar code overcomes.

Magnetic stripe boarding passes require expensive printers located in the airport, at a check-in desk or inside a kiosk, limiting where passengers can get their boarding passes. The magnetic stripe boarding passes also require expensive and unique paper stock.

"Airlines issue over two billion boarding passes every year. The conversion to printed 2D BCBP has been a five-year project and will save the industry up to £1 billion every year," he said.

"With more and more airlines offering the possibility to receive the bar code via a mobile device, we are well on the way to truly paperless travel."

Magnetic stripe boarding passes, which have been used since 1983, have several limitations for airlines and passengers that the bar code overcomes.

Magnetic stripe boarding passes require expensive printers located in the airport, at a check-in desk or inside a kiosk, limiting where passengers can get their boarding passes. The magnetic stripe boarding passes also require expensive and unique paper stock.

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