Ground Handling

Industry makes progress to reduce baggage mishandling, new survey reveals

Textron’s new TUG Endurance baggage tractor
image credit: Textron TUG Endurance baggage tractor

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) today released a global progress report on the implementation of baggage tracking.

Focused on IATA Resolution 753, which requires tracking baggage at acceptance, loading, transfer and arrival, the survey of 155 airlines and 94 airports reveals that, 44% of airlines have fully implemented Resolution 753 and a further 41% are in progress.

Regional variation in airline full adoption rates vary from 88% in China and North Asia, to 60% in the Americas, 40% in Europe and Asia-Pacific, and 27% in Africa.

75% of airports surveyed have the capability for Resolution 753 baggage tracking.

Airport preparedness for Resolution 753 varies by size*: 75% of mega airports are capable, 85% of major airports, 82% of large airports and 61% of medium airports.

Optical barcode scanning is the dominant tracking technology implemented by the majority of airports (73%) surveyed.

Tracking using RFID, which is more efficient, is implemented in 27% of surveyed airports. Notably, RFID technology has seen higher adoption rates at mega airports, with 54% already implementing this advanced tracking system.

Monika Mejstrikova, IATA Director Ground Operations said: “Between 2007 and 2022 baggage mishandling reduced by nearly 60%.

“That is good news. But travelers expect better; and the industry is determined to make further improvements.

“Tracking bags at acceptance, loading, transfer and delivery will give the industry the data it needs to improve.

“Tracking reduces overall mishandlings and helps airlines reunite mishandled bags with their owners even faster.

“With 44% of airlines already fully implementing Resolution 753 tracking and a further 41% in progress, travelers can have even more confidence that their bags will be at the carousel on arrival,”

In 2022, the global rate of mishandled bags was 7.6 per 1,000 passengers, according to SITA. The majority of these were returned within 48 hours.

Resolution 753 requires airlines to exchange baggage tracking messages with interline partners and their agents.

The current baggage messaging infrastructure depends on legacy technologies using costly Type B messaging. This high cost adversely affects the implementation of Resolution 753 and contributes to issues with message quality, leading to an increase in baggage mishandling.

IATA is leading the industry’s transition from Type B to modern baggage messaging based on XML standards. The first pilot to test modern baggage messaging between airport and airlines is planned for lunch in 2024.

Mejstrikova said: “Adopting modern messaging is the equivalent of implementing a new standard, intelligible language for use by airlines, airports, and ground handling staff so they can effectively communicate about passenger luggage.

“In addition to helping reduce the number of mishandled bags implementation also sets the stage for ongoing innovations in baggage management systems”.