As a result of a number of trials and the disclosure from Delta Airlines, which already employs real-time tracking on passengers’ luggage providing a 99% success rate in bag tracking, global IT provider SITA and the Air Transport Association (IATA) have revealed that if further adopted, the air traffic industry could reduce the number of instances by 25% and save up to $US3 billion.
Baggage tracking is done through the implementation of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology which will enable baggage to be tracked in real time across critical parts of a journey, particularly where passengers are changing flights. The ‘smart’ technology being used will also support IATA’s Resolution 753 that will require each airline to track every item of passenger baggage from the start to finish of a journey.
Smart technology is already being used in baggage handling, and this has already seen a 50% drop in the number of mishandled items from a record high of 46.9 million items in 2007, despite the substantial increase in the number of airline passengers.
According to Jim Peters, Chief Technology Officer at SITA, “The airline industry is at the brink of a revolution in baggage tracking. Deploying RFID globally will increase accuracy and reduce mishandling rates. This is a win-win situation – passengers will be happier, operations will run smoother and airlines will save billions of dollars.”
It is expected that RFID capabilities could be implemented for as little US$0.1 per passenger, while creating savings of more than US$0.2 per passenger. This technology is compatible with existing barcode technology, so the adoption of RFID across all airports should benefit passengers and airlines alike.
SITA’s and IATA’s projections are based on RFID being deployed in 722 airports (95% of global passenger numbers) over a six-year period from 2016 to 2021, though the savings have been calculated over seven years.
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