Acsa believes its new boarding passes will make travelling that much simpler for South Africans. Photo: Sophia Stander

Johannesburg - High-tech boarding passes introduced by the Airports Company of South Africa and the airlines mean passengers will no longer have to queue for check-in as their seat is assigned at the time of booking.

In a statement on Tuesday, Acsa said the system would allow passengers to make online or mobile flight ticket bookings and print their own boarding passes.

“The system went live early this month for domestic flights and is working well.”

International travellers would be able to use the new 2-D barcode as soon as approval had been received from the Department of Home Affairs while 1Time Airlines would only be ready next year.

“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 us in line with global practices.”

Acsa group executive for airport operations Bongani Maseko said there were equally positive benefits for airlines, as the volume of people using their check-in desks would diminish, while giving them real-time monitoring of which passengers had already checked into the secure area.

“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,” Maseko said.

The overall objective of the new system was to simplify the check-in process for the airlines and provide greater flexibility and convenience for air travellers.

IATA had developed a detailed technical specification for the 2-D barcode system to ensure compliance and inter-operability between the different participants, Maseko said.

“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 was being rolled out in a phased manner, starting with OR Tambo, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein International Airports, and George and Kimberley Airports.

Maseko said King Shaka International and other airports would be operational by the end of the year.

Airlines would offer a 2-D barcode printing service at their check-in counters for passengers who did 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.” - Sapa