The aviation industry is focused on using innovative technologies to improve efficiencies, security, and enhance the passenger experience. From biometrics to self-bag drop to superior connectivity, emerging technologies are regularly being implemented by aviation industry leaders around the world to make life easier for today’s traveler. And few things come to mind as quickly as baggage tracking when it comes to improving the passenger journey.
The concerns about and expectations of passengers for better visibility into baggage tracking was one of the reasons that gave rise to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Resolution 753, which went into effect in June 2018, and states that an airline must track a bag onto the aircraft, into arrivals or into transfers. The airline must also be capable of sharing this tracking information with other airlines as needed (i.e. for interline transfers). As a result, aviation industry leaders are identifying various ways to comply with the mandate. One way that has gained traction is Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, and IATA is lending its full support to this approach.
We are starting to see that adoption across the aviation industry in airports like McCarran International Airport (LAS) and Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), which are fully RFID-enabled. Delta Airlines is also leading the charge on a global basis as far as RFID adoption in airlines.
Most recently, IATA unanimously resolved to support the global deployment of RFID for baggage tracking. The announcement was made at 75th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Seoul in June 2019. According to reports from the organization, RFID could reduce the number of mishandled bags by an extra 25 percent by 2020 and could save the air transport industry $3 billion in baggage mishandling costs.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, said: “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.”
Global RFID adoption, according to IATA, could be achieved in the next four years. It’s recommended that airlines to begin to transition the bar-coded tags with RFID inlays and begin to use RFID data alerts to “enact process with airports and ground handlers that prevent potential mishandlings.”
The importance of this technology to the constant improvement of the passenger journey should not be overlooked. With more airlines and airports integrating this technology, a more connected and effective aviation ecosystem is formed.