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Baggage Claims and Departure Delays Now Costing $1 Billion Annually

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.