AviationImproved baggage tracking has improved success of baggage delivery by up to 66%.

Airlines get a grip on baggage delivery accuracy

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Airlines have increased baggage tracking in key areas such as check-in, loading onto the aircraft, transfers and arrival.
Airlines have increased baggage tracking in key areas such as check-in, loading onto the aircraft, transfers and arrival. Photo Credit: Brostock/Getty Images

Globally, baggage mishandling has seen a plateau over the past decade, with an average of 5.7 bags per thousand passengers over the past three years. 

Last year, an estimated 24.8 million baggages were mishandled, a figure that has been plummeting over the last decade despite soaring growth in passenger numbers. 

Airlines that are implementing more rigorous baggage tracking have seen marked improvements in bag delivery globally, according to a new report launched on Wednesday (April 24).

IT provider SITA revealed in its Baggage IT Insights report that airlines that incorporated baggage tracking at check-in and loading onto the aircraft have seen a 66% improvement in baggage delivery.

Globally, baggage mishandling has seen a plateau over the past decade, with an average of 5.7 bags per thousand passengers over the past three years. 

In 2018, the rate was 5.69 per thousand passengers, out of some 4.36 billion travellers who checked in more than 4.27 billion bags.

Over the past year, airlines have increased the number of key points where baggage is tracked, from check-in, loading onto the aircraft, transfers and arrival. 

Bags that were being tracked when loaded onto the aircraft saw an improvement in handling ranging between 38- to 66%, depending on the level of tracking introduced. 

“While the mishandling rate has started to plateau over the past few years, this comes against a continued growth in passenger numbers and their bags,” said Peter Drummond, director of baggage, SITA. 

“Everyone across the industry needs to look beyond the process and technology improvements made in the past decade and adopt the latest technology such as tracking to make the next big cut in the rate of mishandled bags,” said Drummond.

Transferring baggage from one aircraft, or airline, to another remains a pinch point in the journey. In 2018 it was again the main reason for bags being mishandled. Transfer bags accounted for 46% of all mishandled bags.

Drummond added: “Transfer is by far the most difficult stage to track a bag as there are multiple airlines and airports involved. However, data from this year’s report shows that tracking at key points in the journey, such as transfers, will go a long way to eliminating mishandling and will allow airlines and their passengers to keep tabs on where their bags are at every step of the way.”

Over the past decade, total number of mishandled bags per annum has plummeted 47% from 46.9 million in 2007 to 24.8 million in 2018, while the annual bill footed by the industry has shrunk 43% to US$2.4 billion, down from US$4.22 billion in 2007.

The full report can be accessed here

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