While traveling in India recently, I understood that I must have my domestic flight ticket printed on a paper to enter the airports.
Initially, I thought this was a security requirement so that bad elements cannot enter our beloved airports. However, I noticed that anybody can pass this step with a visitors ticket that can be bought only for INR 30. (0.75$ cents). Also, with my little knowledge of computers I can assure you that the required printout at the front gate of airports can be produced with-in 5 minutes. So if bad elements want to enter the airport, they will.
The only conclusion I could reach is, this is done to stop over-crowding airports and only let the passengers inside. I completely agree on this arrangement as I myself know, my entire family comes to drop me at airport every single time, and if allowed they would certainly drop me till the aircraft. (and would not leave till the aircraft is ready to go).
So, my problem with this is the "printout". The airport security were not even willing to look at my smart phone where they could actually read everything. They strictly demanded a printout. I tried to convince security at various Indian domestic airports but had no luck.
According to DGCA, we had 50 million domestic travelers in 2010, which means we cut approximately 8,500 trees to only pass the first step at the airports. (please find the calculation at the end of this letter).
I think there is a real possibility of saving trees. I believe we can fix this.
It would be unreasonable to assume that every traveler will have a smart phone to show the e-tickets at the airport. However, it is equally reasonable to assume that each traveler will have a simple phone*. Can we use the mobile revolution to save some trees? If the aviation ministry can regulate air fare prices, I am certain that, they can also dictate airlines to send a SMS for every booking. I am also attaching a possible format for the said SMS with this letter which contains all the information available in the e-tickets which I used to enter the airports.
The airlines do NOT need the print outs. For them, piece of identity and PNR is more than enough. If this information is enough to enter an aircraft and fly, then why can't this be enough to enter the airport.
Also, this 8,500 trees are the direct saving. There is another few thousand trees/CO2 saved which was spent in making paper from these trees, transportation of these paper and waste management afterwards etc etc.
This small measure will definitely make a big impact and moreover make the Ministry of Environment and the minister, your dear friend, Jairam Ramesh happy :)
I believe we have a real opportunity to lead the world by example!
An average Indian citizen
* The travelers without phone can of course use print outs. There is no easy way around them.
Suggested SMS Format: (100 characters only)
(if-needed the remaining 60 characters can be used for advertisements-VOILA)
DoT: Date of travel
PNR: Unique code used by airlines for a particular travel.
ToF: Time of Flight
FNo: Flight Number
ARL: Airline code
PoB: Port of Boarding code (Example: DEL)
PoA: Port of Arrival Code (Example: MUM)
Calculation for number of trees:
50 million passengers per year.
One A4 sheet weighs 10 grams.
So thats: 50,000,000 * 10 grams = 50,000,000 * 10 / 1,000, 000 tonnes = 500 tonnes
It takes 17** trees to make one tonnes paper so thats: 500 * 17 = 8,500
8500 Trees per year.
DGCA website: http://www.dgca.gov.in/reports/pass_data.pdf
Number of Trees per tonne: (Everywhere on internet it is almost the same figure) http://www.tappi.org/paperu/all_about_paper/earth_answers/earthanswers_howmuch.pdf
1. Every traveler will have a A4 sized printout. Honestly, there is no other way. Few will even take more than one copies.
2. Visitor pass prices may vary across India, but they are not a lot. Maximum around Rs. 100 (2$)