Paper boarding passes are soon to go on Qantas and Jetstar flights. Picture: EPA/Barbara Walton
Paper boarding passes are soon to go on Qantas and Jetstar flights. Picture: EPA/Barbara Walton

Qantas and Jetstar announce major boarding pass bombshell

Qantas and Jetstar will ditch paper boarding passes and switch to a purely digital system this year in a bid to cut down on paper waste.

The bold change was announced by Qantas Group this morning as it revealed plans to become the first airline in the world to reuse, recycle and compost at least 75 per cent of its waste by the end of 2021.

Single-use plastics will be replaced with "alternative packaging", coffee cups will be recycled or composted, old crew uniforms will be recycled and more food will be composted or donated as part of other changes to be implemented this year.

Operational manuals will also go digital, along with boarding passes.

The changes will be made across Qantas, its regional arm QantasLink and Jetstar.

Qantas Group chief executive officer Alan Joyce unveiled the plans as the company delivered its half-yearly results.

"In the process of carrying 50 million people each year, we deal with more than 30,000 tonnes of waste. That's the same weight as about 80 747 jumbos," Mr Joyce said.

 

Paper boarding passes are soon to go on Qantas and Jetstar flights. Picture: EPA/Barbara Walton
Paper boarding passes are soon to go on Qantas and Jetstar flights. Picture: EPA/Barbara Walton

 

"It is quite literally a waste, and we have a responsibility to our customers, shareholders and the community to reduce it.

"We've already removed plastic wrapping on our pyjamas and headsets, as well as plastic straws. Even plastic Frequent Flyer cards are going digital.

"It adds up to millions of items a year because of our scale, and there's a lot more we can do."

The Qantas Group aims to remove 100 million single-use plastic items every year. Some 45 million plastic cups, 30 million cutlery sets, 21 million coffee cups and four million headset covers will be replaced with "sustainable alternatives" by the end of next year.

The company said it also aimed to cut down on the volume of items airlines were required by law to dispose of permanently, such as quarantined food on international flights and hazardous materials.

It was working with manufacturers and other airlines to find alternatives to plastic items such as heat-resistant food containers and hygiene wrapping.

 

 

"Few industries can eradicate waste completely, but with this program we're saying that avoidable waste should no longer be an acceptable by-product of how we do business," Mr Joyce said.

"This isn't just the right thing to do, it is good for business and will put us ahead of legislative requirements in the various countries we operate in where there is an end-date on various single-use plastics.

"Some of the best feedback to our efforts so far has been from our crew who see the sheer volume of waste generated in cabins of hundreds of people every day.

"We'll be asking for help from our people, customers, suppliers and regulators to help us reach this goal."

Qantas also has targets for fuel, water and electricity consumption, and said it had the largest carbon offset scheme of any airline in the world.

Passengers can also earn 10 Qantas Points for every dollar they spend opting for carbon neutral flying from Australia.

Currently, around 10 per cent of Qantas passengers choose to offset their flights.