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E-tickets to offset rising air fuel costs
By Cao Desheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-14 05:43

The nation's top civil aviation authority is working to promote electronic tickets to reduce operational costs which have ballooned as a result of surging fuel prices, a senior official said yesterday.

"We have planned to choose two airports to pilot the project in a bid to expand e-tickets across the country before the end of 2007," said Yang Yuanyuan, director of the General Administration of the Civil Aviation of China (CAAC).

Yang made the remarks at a civil aviation development forum in Beijing with the theme of "aviation in a liberalized environment." He did not elaborate.

Since China Southern Airlines promoted China's first e-ticket in 2000, it has secured vast profits from the technology.

The Guangzhou-based carrier achieved a sales revenue of 4 billion yuan (US$480 million) last year from the e-tickets, covering 20 per cent of the company's total and saving around 100 million yuan (US$12 million) in operational costs, sources from the airline's marketing department said.

Some other airlines, including Air China, China Eastern and Hainan Airlines, have also made the promotion of e-tickets their major business plan for this year.

"The rapid growth of China's civil aviation industry is coupled with a lot of hard nuts to crack. One of them is the high fuel costs resulting from the rising international crude oil prices, which has a direct bearing on the development of the sector," Yang said.

Statistics from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) indicate that the additional expenses on the fuel oil amounts to US$15 billion every year globally.

Despite the high price of fuel, the nation's civil aviation sector witnessed large growth and profitability.

Passenger traffic expanded by 38.1 per cent and airlines profits totalled US$1.1 billion last year. This year, China is expected to boast a 16 per cent growth in passenger traffic while projections of the airline profits are for US$1 billion, Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's director general and chief executive officer estimated yesterday.

He warned, however, that "a well planned past is not a guarantee for a great future."

(China Daily 04/14/2005 page2)

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