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No boarding pass required to board flights in China from 2017 | Updated: 2016-11-24 08:16

Chinese air passengers will officially be able to board planes using only their ID cards from the start of 2017.

The move was announced by the vice president of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in North Asia, also its head delegate in China, Zhang Baojian.

It's estimated that airlines could save more than 1 billion yuan ($145 million) each year by cutting back on 5000 check-in counters, related staff and paperwork as a result of the new policy.

IATA also plans to put real-time financial settlements between airline companies and sales agencies into practice in China, making it the first country in the world to do so.

There have been calls for ID card boarding for several years, and the technology to make it happen has been around for two years or so, but civil aviation regulations insist that passengers' boarding passes should be checked before getting on board the plane.

The new policy allows QR codes or ID cards to be used so long as the ID information is consistent with the ticket.

The introduction of daily settlement was held up by technical issues involving airline companies which Zhang said were not hard to resolve, and the cost was much less than the benefit.

30 percent of settlements has been made by Wechat and Alipay online payments, to increase the speed of settlement for airline companies, added Zhang.

Daily settlement is seen by Zhang as a "highlight", with some European and American airline companies finding it hard to make even weekly settlements.

IATA is making preparations to help airline companies successfully make the change to daily settlements.

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