Global airline association IATA's Fast Travel Initiative, a set of standards that incorporates paperless, customer-driven processes in check-in, baggage check and boarding, has now been installed in 35 airports around the world. But the organisation's CEO, Tony Tyler (pictured), is aiming for almost universal adoption of the service by 2020.
"The target for this year is for 100 airline and airport pairs to use at least three fast travel solutions," said Tyler, speaking at SITA's 2012 Air Transport IT summit in Brussels, Belgium. "By 2020, we're looking at 80 per cent of airports and airline pairs to use fast travel suites."
Tyler's plans come at a time of "relative calm" in an industry that he described as being in constant crisis. The IATA CEO reminded summit delegates that the entire airline industry hopes to make an aggregate profit of just $3bn (£1.9bn) this year, equating to a wafer-thin 0.3 per cent profit margin.
Tyler believes a possible solution for the industry lies in continuing to increase the effectiveness of IT, with new schemes comparable to paperless ticketing leading the way in bringing "fresh competition to the market for passenger data", which for customers, said Tyler, will "mean better pricing".
"E-ticketing is about far more than just removing paper," said Tyler. "It opened efficiency across the supply chain. Without it, the benefits offered by barcoded boarding passes would be much less."
Tyler cited Apple's recent announcement that iOS 6 will automatically display mobile boarding passes on device home screens upon boarding. IATA, said Tyler, will follow up this technology to use mobile to create a "security check point of the future".
"It will combine information about our passengers and advanced detection technology to provide a seamless journey through the checkpoint, without unpacking or removing clothes, allowing us to focus resources where most needed," said Tyler.
Alex Cruz, CEO of Spanish airline Vueling, agreed with Tyler's assertions. "Kiosks are dead. Reservation equals boarding pass," he said.
Cruz said that IT technology is moving ahead fast, and the industry needs to embrace change quickly in order to keep up.
"Time to market is essential if you want to keep your job," said Cruz. "We absolutely need to involve the CIO in the future of airline companies," Cruz concluded.