SITA Baggage Report 2016 has revealed that baggage mishandling dropped to its lowest ever rate in 2015—6.5 bags for every 1000 passengers i.e. almost 50% less since 2007.
Although there have been many improvements in recent years, baggage handling was always been a challenge for airlines around the world. Baggage mishandling costs are on rise, along with customer anxiety about mishandled baggage, causing an adverse impact on the reputation and brand image of the airlines. It has been estimated that from year 2016 to year 2035, financial losses to airline industry from baggage losses could reach to USD 80Bn to USD 100Bn.
IATA Baggage Resolution 753
To reduce / prevent baggage mishandling and to regulate baggage handling by getting the airlines and the airport on the same platform, International Air Transport Association (IATA) has passed a resolution—IATA Baggage Handling Resolution 753. The resolution simply states, “IATA members shall maintain an accurate inventory of baggage by monitoring the acquisition to delivery of baggage.” It aims to reduce the number of lost or delayed baggage by improving efficiency in 5 key areas
—check-in, security, sorting (manual handling) arrivals, and transfers. It will also steer innovation by introducing modern standards such as intelligent tracking capabilities, which would allow airlines and airports to access information and take actions in time. This will reduce the cost involved in tracing, retrieving, and delivering baggage, and also lower baggage frauds.
What does it mean for airlines?
IATA member airlines need to commit themselves to:
- Demonstrate delivery of baggage when custody changes
- Demonstrate acquisition of baggage when custody changes
- Provide inventory of baggage upon departure of the flight
- Develop capability of exchanging these events with other airlines as needed
It also specifies three key check points where these events should happen—aircraft loading, arrivals, and transfers. With effect from June 2018, this will be a mandate for all IATA member airlines.
What does it means for airports?
By 2018, IATA member airlines will need to ensure that the airports they work with have necessary IT systems and infrastructure in place to support them in complying with Resolution 753. This means that all airports (existing or new) need to assess their infrastructure.
Airlines and airports are widely exploring options such as automated readers, handheld devices, and baggage tracking devices using GSM, LEB, RFID, and beacons. With the industry moving towards an XML schema for baggage, integrated single industry data model would allow new, easier system development with greater data availability. Delta Airlines is already in the process of moving toward paper RFID tags to track bags. Delta aims to track end-to-end baggage handling with the help of RFID at over 344 airports by the end of this year. As per the information shared by Delta Airlines, the test showed 99.9% success rate.
IATA Resolution 753 is primarily the responsibility of the airlines but co-operation with airport handlers and airport operators can be equally beneficial for the industry as well as for the customers. HCL’s expertise in working with airlines for baggage management solutions and other industry track-and-trace systems can be leveraged to develop new systems for our airline and airport partners.