"In just 278 more days, the paper ticket will become a collector’s item," said Giovanni Bisignani, director general of the International Air Transport Association.
The changeover from paper would not only cut airlines’ costs by $9 for every traveller but would also mean the industry — criticized by environmentalists for its part in global warming — would save 50,000 mature trees a year, he added.
Bisignani did not say whether the $9 in cost savings would or should be passed on to passengers.
Based in Geneva, IATA represents more than 240 airlines which operate 94 percent of scheduled international flights.
Non-IATA airlines, mainly low-cost carriers like the Irish Ryanair and the British Easyjet, already have a paper-free ticket system where travellers are registered in computers and present only an identity document at check-in.
IATA launched its drive for so called "e-ticketing" just over three years ago and now 84 percent of travellers on IATA carriers fly without paper tickets.
The airlines body says China, one of the fastest-growing markets for air travel and host to next year’s Olympic Games, is heading to be the first country in the world to operate an entirely paper-free ticketing system by the end of this year.