In 2007 the total number of mishandled bags reached a high of 46.9 million and over the last nine years that number has been reduced by 50%. In the same period, the total cost of bag mishandling to the industry, which stood at $4.2 billion in 2007, has been cut by 45%.
Given technology’s role in these achievements, it’s no wonder that investment in baggage systems automation and processes remains high on the agenda.
In addition to delivering savings, these investments are making a massive difference to the reliability and speed of baggage delivery. As traveler numbers increase the industry’s continued sharp focus on smarter baggage is imperative (see the box below: ‘Smarter bag trends’).
One industry priority right now is to keep track of passengers’ bags through all major stages of the bag journey.
Such a development is crucial given IATA’s Resolution 753, which will come into effect in June 2018.
The Resolution requires IATA members to keep tabs on every item of baggage from start to finish, or in its own words, to “maintain an accurate inventory of baggage by monitoring the acquisition and delivery of baggage.”
Asked in an interview whether bag tracking is becoming important to travelers, Laila Ben Salah, KLM’s Manager Product Innovation, was emphatic that “Customers are waiting for this. They want to have more control, to know where their baggage is and to have the same information as airlines.”
The requirement is to place baggage management and tracking information in the hands of passengers throughout their journeys. SITA’s new BagJourney service can help airlines and airports with providing this type of tracking information to their passengers.
In fact, it’s an innovative solution that enables passengers to track their bag, like they would a parcel. SITA BagJourney follows the bag, from check-in to final delivery, through multiple airports and multiple airlines.
IATA continues to drive improvements in baggage handling and we welcome solutions, like SITA’s BagJourney, that will help airlines to comply with Resolution 753. What is clear is that, if airlines can use baggage data efficiently they will see results. When one major airline introduced 100% tracking they saw a 35% reduction in mishandling, so there will be a combination of savings and improvements in the passenger experience.
Andrew Price, Head of Airport Operations Management, IATA
Two-thirds of passengers said they would definitely use such a service, so that they can act immediately and self-process missing bag reports at the airport, either using their smartphones or a kiosk.
With 97% of passengers carrying a smart mobile device when traveling, there’s now the huge potential for airlines and airports to provide them with real-time information about the status of their bags.
It means that passenger’s are no longer waiting for this information to be provided by the air transport industry.
Over the past two years there have been many products launched that enable passengers to track their luggage using GSM and GPS . To ensure airline, airports and passengers can share the same information, tracking data from such devices can be integrated into BagJourney.
Ingeniously, BagJourney harnesses the 2.5 billion baggage information messages (BIMs) which SITA manages for the global airline and airport community in its BagMessage message distribution service.
More than 220 airports and 500 airlines around the world use BagMessage to exchange information on the location of passengers’ baggage. The volume of data managed by SITA is growing at close to 20% a year.
BagJourney frees up this immense amount of data created about baggage, making it available so that it’s of value to the air transport community.
It’s also unique in being integrated with WorldTracer – the only truly global tracing and matching service of delayed bags. This allows a bag’s journey to continue to be tracked even if it’s mishandled.
The new service is delivered to the community via an application programming interface (API) via www.developer.aero.
This allows airlines and airports to integrate it into to their existing systems quickly and easily, including services such as mobile updates which they might offer to passengers.
Since BagJourney’s development, more potential apps for tracking and analysis have surfaced through discussions with customers.
They include disruption management, mishandled information to crew while in-flight, mishandling charges proration and validation. Full integration with new WorldTracer applications is coming online in 2015 (WorldTracer Tablet).
What’s clear is that the approach to releasing key operational data is sparking industry interest.
In the words of Ben Kepes, writing for Forbes, BagJourney “allows third parties to do interesting stuff with that data … I can’t wait to see the applications that will be built on top of it.”