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IATA offers support to rollout of radio frequency identification for baggage

IATA offers support to rollout of radio frequency identification for baggage

The International Air Transport Association has resolved to support the global deployment of radio frequency identification for baggage tracking.

The IATA annual general meeting also called for the implementation of modern baggage messaging standards to more accurately track passengers’ baggage in real time across key points in the journey.

In 2018, less than 0.06 per cent of the estimated 4.3 billion bags carried by airlines were mishandled, according to the latest figures from SITA.


Since 2007 baggage mishandling has fallen by 70 per cent and today 99.9 per cent of mishandled bags are reunited with their owners within two days.

RFID read rates are 99.98 per cent accurate which is significantly better than that of bar codes.

And modern messaging standards will enable airlines to proactively take action when there is potential for mishandling. Combined, RFID and modern messaging standards, should reduce the mishandling rate by a quarter.

“Passengers want to arrive with their bags.

“And on the rare occasion when that does not happen, they want to know exactly where their bag is.

“Deploying RFID and adopting modern baggage messaging standards will help us to cut mishandlings by a quarter and recover bags that are mishandled more quickly,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA director general.

The resolution commits airlines to:

  • Transition to bar-coded bag tags with RFID inlays.
  • Use RFID data alerts to enact processes with airports and ground handlers that prevent potential mishandlings.

The resolution does not specify timelines.

It is anticipated, however, that global adoption of RFID could be achieved within four years.

“Implementing RFID tracking technology and adopting modern messaging standards is a team effort.

“Airlines, airports and ground handlers need to work together.

“And the motivation is to satisfy customers,” said de Juniac.