Mishandled luggage at lowest rates since records began

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Air transport IT provider SITA has released its 2016 Baggage Report today (April 26), which showed that the rate of mishandled luggage in 2015 was at the lowest level ever recorded with 6.5 mishandled bags per thousand passengers. This was down 10.5% from 2014 and is less than half the rate recorded in 2003.

The improvement is impressive given that passenger numbers have risen by 85% since 2003, with more than 3.5 billion people traveling by air last year. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is leading the charge for higher baggage handling standards, with its call for airlines to track each bag throughout its entire journey. IATA Resolution 753, to be implemented by airlines by June 2018, will mean that bags will be tracked at every point of the journey.

Francesco Violante, CEO, SITA, said, “Over the next three years bag tracking will be in the spotlight as airlines ready themselves to implement IATA’s Resolution 753. This increase in visibility will provide more control and drive further improvements in bag handling.

“It also means that passengers will be able track their bag, just like a parcel, which will reduce anxiety and allow them to take fast action if flights are disrupted and their bags are delayed.”

Another area of change identified in SITA’s report is the growth of self-service bag services. Around 40% of airlines and airports now provide self-service bag tag printing at kiosks and more than three quarters are expected to do so by 2018. Almost a third of passengers expect to be using bag-drop services, either at a dedicated staffed station or fully self-service kiosk, in 2016.

How bags are tagged for their journey is also evolving. Over the past year there has been progress across the industry on permanent electronic tags that offer passengers independence and can reduce waiting times. Airlines are now trialing these tags which passengers update with their flight information for each journey via a mobile phone app. Home-printed bag tags, which offer passengers similar benefits, are a lower cost option being used by several airlines today.

Violante added, “The baggage statistics for 2015 are very encouraging, however in total, mishandled bags still cost the industry US$2.3bn last year. While this is a 3.75% reduction from 2014 it is clear that this must remain an area of focus for the industry. Passenger experience is paramount and improving baggage handling will deliver improvements for passengers along with cost savings. The technology is available to support increased tracking and improved tracing and SITA is working across the air transport community to deliver efficiencies.”

To read the full Baggage Report from SITA click here. 

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Helen has worked for UKi Media & Events for nearly a decade. She joined the company as assistant editor on Passenger Terminal World and since progressed to become editor of five publications, covering everything from aviation, logistics and e-commerce to meteorology. She has a love for travel and property and has redeveloped three houses in three years. When she’s not editing magazines, she’s running around after her two boys and their partner in crime, Pete the pug.

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