Airports lose fewer bags ahead of new regulations

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The number of bags mishandled by airports has dropped 12.5% compared with last year, according to SITA’s Baggage Report 2017.

According to the annual report, 21.6 million bags were mishandled in 2016, while airlines carried 3.77 billion passengers, meaning 5.73 bags per thousand passengers were mishandled, the lowest rate ever recorded. In 2015 22.3 million bags were mishandled for 3.56 billion passengers, a rate of 6.53 bags mishandled per thousand passengers.

SITA estimates that the global bill for recovering and reuniting passengers with their bags was in the order of US$2.1bn in 2016.

Since 2007, the rate of mishandled baggage has fallen 70% thanks, said SITA, to investment in technologies and process improvements.

The report is good news for aviation in advance of IATA Resolution 753 coming into force in June 2018. The resolution requires that every bag must be tracked and recorded at four mandatory points: check-in; aircraft loading; at transfer between carriers; and on arrival as the bag is delivered back to the passenger.

The tracking will enable airlines and airports to share information about the whereabouts of baggage with passengers and business partners through all parts of a journey and take action if there is disruption or delays.

Air transport IT company SITA supplies a range of technologies to airports, including bag tracking and tracing. Ilya Gutlin, president of air travel solutions for the company, said, “The days of not knowing where your bag is will soon to be a thing of the past. We are on the brink of a new era in airline baggage management because the world’s airlines are committing to track baggage throughout its journey.

“This requires data capture, management and sharing across airlines, airports and ground handlers, giving a better view of where each piece of luggage is at every stage. At SITA we are providing several tracking innovations that will allow the air transport community to scale up their tracking capabilities without massive capital investments.”

The report also revealed that the critical “pinch-point” in the bag handling process is when passengers and their luggage need to move from one aircraft to another, or from one carrier to another. In 2016, 47% of delayed bags were in the process of being transferred.

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