South Africa introduces high-tech boarding passes for improved passenger convenience

Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) and the airlines have introduced a new, cutting-edge, air travel convenience with the implementation of a system that allows passengers to make on-line or mobile flight ticket bookings and print their own boarding passes. The system went live early September 2010 for domestic flights and is working well.
A Lufthansa Mobile Boarding Pass
International travelers will be able to use the new 2-D barcode as soon approval has been received from the Department of Home Affairs whilst 1Time Airline will only be ready next year.Bar Coded Boarding Passes (BCBP) use IATA industry standard 2D bar codes. Because they can be accessed from anywhere - even a mobile phone - they offer more convenience for the passenger.

Historically, airline global applications for mobile phone technology have been restricted due to different regional formats. The IATA standard uses existing codes: Aztec and Datamatrix which are used extensively in Europe and North America; and QR which is widely used in Japan. All three are proven technologies and can be read by a single scanner type that is cost effective and readily available globally.

 “The 2-D barcode verification system is the new standard in air travel that has been adopted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), thereby bringing South Africa in line with global practices. Passengers will no longer have to queue at the airport for check-in as their seat is assigned at the time of booking, while they can also print their boarding pass on any home laser or ink-jet printer. There are equally positive benefits for airlines, as the volume of people using their check-in desks will diminish, while giving them real-time monitoring of which passengers have already checked into the secure area,” says Bongani Maseko, ACSA’s Group Executive for Airport Operations.

ACSA has been working with industry players and partners over the past two years to put in place the system that requires the implementation of certain technologies, standards and functionality. The overall objective of the new system is to simplify the check-in process for the airlines and provide greater flexibility and convenience for air travellers.

IATA developed a detailed technical specification for the 2-D barcode system to ensure compliance and interoperability between the different participants. ACSA has worked with industry bodies such as the Airlines Association of Southern Africa and the Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa to ensure a smooth and collaborative implementation.

The system is being rolled out in a phased manner, starting with O.R. Tambo, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein International Airports, and George and Kimberley Airports. King Shaka International and our three other airports will be operational by the end of the year.

Maseko explains that airlines will offer a 2-D barcode printing service at their check-in counters for passengers who do not have the ability to print their pre-booked boarding pass. Passengers who use the 2-D boarding pass are required to carry positive identification, which must be produced at the boarding gate. An on-going education and information campaign will be implemented by ACSA to help passengers and the industry to make the necessary adjustments to this new system.

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The system will be available for domestic travel on the following media: Check-in counter printed boarding passes, Common-User Self-Service printed boarding passes, Home printed boarding passes and Mobile devices. For international travelers, all of the above will be scanned, except for the 2-D boarding passes on mobile devices. It will be available for international travelers after the necessary approvals have been obtained from the Department of Home Affairs.
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  1. Zoie Neala Says:

    It seems their airport has made diligent efforts to improve their online booking services that they have even come up with digital printing for immediate check-in procedures. Great job!


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