Passengers holding a multifunction smart card which operates as a passport, visa, and biometric identity tag "could enjoy a truly hassle-free experience from check-in to final clearance at destination", predicts International Air Transport Association (IATA) director general Pierre Jeanniot, speaking at the Aerovision 2000 Symposium in Vancouver, Canada.

Effective "passenger processing" and the hassle-free airport is one of IATA's two holy grails, originally paraded at its 1997 annual general meeting. The other was to make major advances in flight safety.

Meanwhile, IATA and IBM have made a joint commitment to develop a service capable of linking the electronic ticketing (e-ticket) systems of hundreds of airlines.

The new service is expected to expand significantly the acceptance and use of e-ticketing among IATA's 266 member airlines and the industry, says the association.

If adopted, the system will allow participants to link to a centralised e-ticketing service, enabling them to process and exchange e-tickets. Travellers using e-tickets will be able to fly and, if necessary, rebook on more than one airline on the same trip.

Source: Flight International