Air travel is now on the mend as borders reopen — that's the good
news. But the bad news? Baggages are missing at a higher incidence
Mishandled bags increased by 24% to 4.35 bags per thousand passengers
as travellers return to the skies in 2021, according to Baggage IT
Insights 2022 by aviation technology provider SITA. The mishandling rate
is up from 3.5 checked bags per 1,000 in 2020, although it is still
lower than 5.6 per 1,000 in 2019.
"Airlines, ground handlers and airports have downsized to maintain
business viability during the pandemic, which has impacted resources and
expertise dedicated to baggage management," SITA said. "Unaddressed,
this challenge may see the mishandling rate continue to creep up and
become much higher than it was pre-pandemic."
Transfer bags historically account for most mishandled bags. The
increase in longhaul flights in 2021 has pushed up the bags delayed at
transfer to 41% – a 4% increase from 2020.
Delayed bags accounted for 71% of all mishandled bags in 2021 – a 2%
increase from 2020. At the same time, the number of lost and stolen bags
rose slightly to 6%, while those that were damaged and pilfered
decreased to 23%.
The significant pressure to boost operational efficiency is
accelerating digitalisation across the aviation sector, with greater
self-service now a priority.
A large majority of airports and almost all airlines are prioritising
touchless bag tagging options that rely on kiosks and passengers'
mobile devices, while implementation of unassisted bag drop is
increasing, with 90% of airlines and three-quarters of airports planning
to make touchless unassisted self-bag drop available by 2024.