Growing passenger numbers and
improved security procedures were today cited as the main factors fuelling
estimated annual losses of one billion US dollars for the world’s airlines
in mishandled baggage and delayed flight departures.The figure comes from a report* released today by the global provider of IT
solutions to the air transport industry, SITA INC, to coincide with the
opening in Cologne of the world’s largest industry event focussed on
airline and airport passenger services, Passenger Terminal Expo 2005.
Catherine Mayer, SITA INC Vice President of Airport Services, said that
given the Federal Aviation Administration announcement of a greater than
10% rise in the number of mishandled bags in the United States last year,
baggage reconciliation systems would be a welcome solution to increase
operational efficiencies and reduce costs for airlines in the near future.
“Disgruntled passengers, important security concerns and the high cost of
inefficient baggage handling are critical issues that all stakeholders -
airlines, airports and governments - must collectively address,” she said.
The report draws on industry analysis to highlight the fact that only a
handful of airports around the world use state-of-the-art Radio Frequency
Identification Tags (RFID) tags - tiny attachable chips capable of sending
digital information over secure wireless networks.
SITA INC’s inclusion of RFID as part of its Integrated Baggage Solution is
based on a calculation that it can dramatically reduce read errors from
today’s average of 10% - 15% to under 5%. RFID usage will increasingly
replace bar-coded bag tags, which will allow for constant, real-time
tracking of each bag’s location.
“We feel that in the coming years airports will really start to drive the
take-up of this new technology based on the kind of positive experiences we
have had in airports such as Hong Kong. You cannot argue against a
cost-effective technological advance like this which improves security and
also boosts operational efficiency,” said Mayer.
SITA INC reported a record-breaking year in 2004 for the baggage management
line of its business. In a year when its Horizon passenger and reservations
systems were responsible for boarding 105 million passengers worldwide,
SITA INC extended its baggage management solutions to 12 new locations:
Aberdeen, Abu Dhabi, Astana, Barcelona, Birmingham, Canton, Edinburgh,
Glasgow, Hong Kong, London, Madrid and Singapore.
SITA’s Integrated Baggage Solution comprises three core modules covering
baggage messaging, BagMessage; end-to-end baggage management and
reconciliation, BagManager; and worldwide round-the-clock baggage tracing,
“It’s thanks to integrated baggage solutions such as SITA INC’s that
only around 0.7% of all checked luggage fails to arrive at its scheduled
destination in a timely fashion. However, that still equates to well over
ten million pieces of missing luggage and all that that implies for
customer goodwill and impact on airline revenues,” said Mayer.