LOST LUGGAGE COULD BE A THING OF THE PAST
Plan for electronic tags could save billions
Plans to introduce electronic tags placed on every air passenger’s bag could save the aviation industry an estimated $3 billion in the coming years, a conference has heard.
Delegates attending the International Air Travel Association’s (IATA) World Symposium in Dubai were told the simple move could lead to an end of woes for passengers that arrive at their destination to find their bags are missing.
All airlines have signed up to implement electronic bag tagging by 2018, a decision that IATA’s Head of Global Baggage Operations, Andrew Price, told 7DAYS will save the industry billions in compensation and logistical costs.
He said: “There is a saying in the baggage industry that so far it is like a sausage factory.
“It goes in one side and out the other – but nobody knows exactly what happens or what the ingredients are.
“At the moment there is never a problem with 99.4 per cent of bags and while the remainder, 0.6 per cent, might sound like a small number, that’s a lot of bags.”
Airlines have until January 2018 to bring in a system to track baggage.
Air France-KLM and Brussels Airlines are among those already working on tags, while Qantas offers a permanent device for domestic flyers.
Price urged airlines to adopt a simple Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) device, the technology for which has been around since 1941, he said.
He added: “Advances in the technology and the immense benefits it brings to the airline industry has prompted IATA to revisit and fully explore the benefits of RFID.”
Price said that Qatar’s Doha International Airport is leading the way in the Middle East and has already been equipped to be fully RFID-friendly.
Global IT provider SITA is working alongside IATA to bring the system to the forefront of the aviation industry.
According to IATA’s 2016 global report on baggage, it has already helped reduce lost baggage numbers by 50 per cent since 2007, when the figure stood at 46.9 million lost bags – a saving of $22.4 billion.
Peter Drummond, SITA’s Head of Baggage, said the implementation of RFID technology will cost airlines an investment of 10 cents per passenger.
“It will return about 20 cents per passenger, though. It will save the entire industry $3 billion by 2022,” he added.
“The industry is at a tipping point and has already demonstrated the value it can bring.”
The symposium ends today.
‘There is a saying in the baggage industry that it is like a sausage factory. It goes in one side and out the other – but nobody knows exactly what happens.’
– IATA’s Head of Global Baggage Operations, Andrew Price