Airline bag delivery hits all-time high

Date: 26 March 2014
Location: Barcelona


SITA reports baggage mishandling is lowest ever recorded

Airline baggage delivery hit an all-time high in 2013, with the mishandling rate dropping more than 21% from 2012, according to air transport IT specialist, SITA. The 10th annual SITA Baggage Report today reported that the rate of mishandled bags* in 2013 was 6.96 bags per thousand passengers. This is just half the rate reported 10 years ago, despite a 65.6% increase in passenger numbers over the same time period.

From 2012 to 2013, the rate of mishandled bags dropped 21.2%, and the total annual cost of mishandled bags to the industry fell 19.9%. Today, the annual cost of mishandled bags is 50% less than in 2007, when the number of mishandled bags peaked at 18.88 bags per thousand passengers. The industry has achieved this improvement even as passenger numbers rose more than 5% in 2013 to top three billion passengers globally.

Francesco Violante, CEO, SITA, said: “The industry has joined together to tackle the problem of mishandled bags, and we have seen great results. There is still more work to do, but 2013 was the best year ever, showing the benefits of this collaboration.

“As the community provider to the air transport industry, SITA continues to invest in innovative technologies to drive the mishandling rate still lower. This includes self-service solutions for passengers such as self-service bag-drops and our BagJourney application programming interface, which provides end-to-end baggage tracking for integration into airline and airport systems, such as smartphone and tablet apps.”

In 2013, passengers reported 21.8 million mishandled bags. More than 81% of these were delayed bags, with baggage transfers between flights as the leading cause. Although transfer bags remain a challenge for the industry, performance in this area continues to improve.  

In 2013, transfer bags accounted for 45% of delayed bags. This is 23.2% lower than 2012. Improvement in transfer performance in recent years has been helped by greater messaging reliability, which enables bags with short connection times to be identified before they arrive at the airport. Better segregation of these “hot bags” in the aircraft and smart mobile devices, such as tablets for key operational staff, have also played an important role.

SITA has led the air transport industry in baggage tracking and tracing solutions for more than 20 years. Today, more than 200 airports and 500 airlines worldwide use its baggage management solutions. By facilitating communications between airlines and local baggage handling and reconciliation systems, SITA helps ensure that bags reach their correct destination. Its proprietary BagMessage system delivered more than 1.8 billion messages between airline departure control systems and automated baggage systems in 2013. And more than 2,800 airport locations use WorldTracer®, SITA's system which traces delayed and mishandled bags globally.

* A mishandled bag is a report of a delayed, damaged or pilfered bag which is recorded by either an airline or its handling company on behalf of the passenger and that is handled as a claim.