Baggage handling continues to improve

06/01/2016
An airline technology company reports that airlines are making great strides in reducing the number of mishandled bags. The improvements show that baggage mishandling occurrences have been cut by over half in just under a decade. According to SITA, the industry's technology company, there were 10 percent fewer mishandled bags worldwide than there were in 2014. This improvement occurred despite the increase in the number of passengers over the last decade (3.5 billion enplanements in 2015) and an airport infrastructure operating at full or excess capacity. In 2015, there were 6.5 mishandled bags per thousand passengers which represents a 65% drop since 2007. SITA stated in its report that this has saved the industry US$22.4 billion in added costs since then and went on to add: "Of the decreasing number of mishandled bags, looking at the detailed performance in 2015, delayed bags accounted for 79% of all mishandled bags; damaged or pilfered bags represented 15%; and lost or stolen bags comprised 6%. The average time it took to reunite passengers with their bags and close the mishandled bag file was 1.76 days." SITA has been working with airlines and airports to improve baggage handling statistics for several years. The company provides technology support and is the "brains" behind many of the kiosks and other services passengers use at airports. One of the most challenging undertakings over the years has been the goal to reduce incidents of mishandled luggage. SITA has been working with IATA, the largest airline trade association, to adopt IATA Resolution 753 which is to go into effect in June, 2018 and calls for its member airlines to maintain an accurate inventory of baggage at all stages of the passenger journey. The resolution aims to: • prevent and reduce mishandling by determining custody of every bag during different phases of baggage chain • increase passenger satisfaction, as mishandling is reduced • reduce the possibility of baggage fraud by closing the baggage journey • enable exceptions to be detected where baggage is delivered to a party, but not processed further • speed up reconciliation and flight readiness for departing flights • help measuring compliance to SLAs • Provide evidence to an automatic interline proration process SITA feels that technology will drive even more improvements. Self-tagging and faster baggage tracking have yielded positive results and by 2018, 77% of airlines and 88% of airports plan to have some form of self bag-tagging by 2018, according to SITA.