The Airports Authority of India, which manages 125 airports across India, has implemented a new baggage management system at Kolkata and Chennai Airports. The technology, provided by global air transport technology specialist SITA, gives real-time information on the status of passengers’ baggage, which helps reduce mishandling and solves baggage issues.
Every year close to fifteen million bags are processed at these two airports and SITA BagManager is now being used to facilitate loading, reconciling, tracking, tracing and managing all these bags. While SITA BagManager cannot prevent weather or technical issues, which can cause bags to be mishandled or delayed, it can prevent up to 20% of mishandled bags improving the experience for many travelers. In 2014, mishandled bags cost the global air transport industry a total of US$2.4bn; in addition to these costs mishandled bags also have a high impact on customer satisfaction, affecting an airline's and airport’s brand.
Ravi Prakash, Executive Director (IT, FIU and RCDU), Airports Authority of India, said: “Every passenger expects their luggage to arrive with them at their destination but sometimes weather, or other adverse conditions, can mean that bags don’t make flight connections. The implementation of SITA’s baggage technology will minimize disruption and provide better service to passengers. Kolkata and Chennai are the first of 38 airports where this world-class BRS system has been implemented. This is part of a strategic partnership with SITA to implement state-of-the-art ICT solutions at airports to cope with the growth of passenger traffic in India, which is expected to be the third-largest aviation market by 2023. This Aviation ICT forum 2015 at Goa is timely, apt and is a stepping stone in upgradation in ICT infrastructure at airports to generate capacity to meet future growth.”
More than one hundred hand-held devices have been issued to workers at the two airports which will allow them to scan baggage tags anywhere and provide information on the location of each and every bag. SITA’s system will help AAI to determine which passengers have boarded and which bags have been loaded, producing reports to highlight mismatches which are critical to security and in line with international guidelines. The system will ensure proactive monitoring of the baggage process, enabling problems to be identified and resolved before a flight departs. It will also improve operational decision-making through the provision of real-time information on the mobile devices used by staff.
Maneesh Jaikrishna, SITA Vice President, India and Subcontinent, said: “SITA’s baggage management solution is in use at more than 150 airports worldwide and is proven to cut the rate of baggage mishandling by as much as a fifth. The successful implementation at Kolkata and Chennai are the first in this major phased rollout for the AAI.
“Investment in this system demonstrates the AAI’s dedication to improving the passenger experience with better baggage management. It also means that airlines operating at these AAI-run airports will be better able to comply with the new international regulation from IATA (Resolution 753) which requires bags to be tracked throughout their journey.”
Technology has proven to be a major contributor to the improvement of baggage handling. Over the past seven years the air transport industry has managed a remarkable achievement and cut the baggage mishandling rate by 61.3% from its peak of 18.88 bags per thousand passengers in 2007, to the 2014 figure of 7.3 bags per 1000 passengers. Further improvements are expected when the IATA Resolution 753 comes into effect in 2018. This resolution will require IATA members to keep track of every item of baggage from start to finish.
The rollout to the other 36 airports has begun and SITA’s baggage systems are expected to be in operation in them all by 2016.