We know where your bag is

We know where your bag is

We know where your bag is

...accurate information not only reduces mishandling but can help to speed up reconciliation and flight readiness for departing flights and help measure performance against service level parameters.

Nick Gates, Director Baggage Portfolio, SITA

Nick GatesThe recent adoption of IATA Resolution 753 is no dry technical issue. It’s a major advance that every passenger will unknowingly welcome.

The landscape for baggage management at airports is set for dramatic change with the requirement by 2018 for airlines to keep track of every item of baggage from start to finish.

The Resolution requires IATA members to “maintain an accurate inventory of baggage by monitoring the acquisition and delivery of baggage” – in other words to keep tabs on every item of baggage from start to finish.

IATA Resolution 753 stipulates that members must be able to:

  • Demonstrate delivery of baggage when custody changes
  • Demonstrate acquisition of baggage when custody changes
  • Provide an inventory of bags on departure of a flight
  • Be capable of exchanging these events with other airlines as needed

Who's affected?

Taking effect from June 2018, the Resolution is mandatory for IATA airlines. But it will also require airports to have the IT systems and infrastructure in place to support airline compliance. This will involve a range of different parties at different points of the process.

Bags will need to be tracked by either automated readers or staff using mobile handheld devices. Other technology, such as GSM/GPS-enabled devices and beacons, may also be used to track each and every bag along its journey.

Good examples

Some airports already have a high level of tracking throughout their terminals. For example, London Heathrow Airport has installed scanners and lasers across the whole airport.

At Italy’s largest airport, Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport Rome, SITA has installed readers to track bags and has implemented the airport’s bag reconciliation, messaging and management systems.

The investment has paid off: over two years, mishandling rates for airlines using the airport were reduced by 70%, with 360,000 fewer bags mishandled. This delivered estimated savings to the airlines of US$ 36m.

SITA has also worked with several airports to install baggage systems into new terminals – including Heydar Aliev International Airport’s new Terminal 1 in Baku, Azerbaijan and St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Airport, both of which use the SITA BagMessage and BagManager solutions. 


One of the most innovative baggage solutions installed at a new terminal was at Dublin Airport T2. SITA developed a sophisticated solution that enables US Customs and Immigration pre-clearance to be carried out in Ireland.

The first of its kind, it captures images of bags from the moment they are checked in and tracks them throughout the airport so that the US Customs and Border Protection officials can immediately locate and retrieve a bag for inspection.

Everyone wins

The aim is to reduce mishandling by determining custody of every bag during each phase of the baggage process. This will increase passenger satisfaction while at the same time the possibility of baggage fraud can be reduced by knowing exactly what bags you should have when.

There are benefits for all parties – airlines airports and passengers – because accurate information not only reduces mishandling but can help to speed up reconciliation and flight readiness for departing flights and help measure performance against service level parameters.

But what must be remembered is that meeting IATA’s requirements still demands intelligent tracking capabilities such as those offered by SITA’s BagJourney, which makes tracking data is made available to airlines and airports, to be conveyed to passengers.

As an industry, June 2018 is a fast-approaching deadline that the community of airports, airlines, ground handlers and suppliers will have to work together to meet.

SITA responses

SITA has already designed a comprehensive set of solutions to address each stage of the process and meet the resolution requirements.

For example, BagManager can be used to demonstrate delivery or acquisition when custody changes between parties, such as handover from airline to ground-handler, or airline to airport.

SITA’s BagManager, BagJourney and BagSmart are then designed to provide an inventory of bags on flight departure.

BagManager is installed at more than 150 airports; BagMessage processes more than 2 billion baggage information messages a year.

Smart baggage

Enhancing customer service

More passengers want to use their mobile devices as a self-service tool to track their baggage while travelling from one destination to the next. A mobile app will alert them to the location of their baggage.

SITA is in the vanguard of the air transport industry's progress towards giving passengers more access to information about their bags, taking full advantage of mobile capabilities. This will enable the self-processing by passengers of delayed bag claims. At the same time, the industry will be more able to deal with mishandled bag claims.

SITA's BagConnect ensures that the transfer airport receives all the necessary information automatically in its systems to enable bags to make connections more smoothly.

SITA’s BagSmart, introduced in 2013 with a major airline alliance, delivers predictive warnings to airlines and their agents of possible delayed bags – enabling them to proactively intervene to prevent flight delays as well as manage end-customer expectations.

New capabilities continue to be introduced to reduce problem areas further. Launched in 2014, SITA’s BagJourney tracks passenger bags throughout their journey and makes this information available to airlines and airports via a web application programming interface (API) so that they can enable passengers to track their bags throughout their journey. Savings generated by BagJourney are estimated at 0.11 US$ per passenger.

In the meantime, SITA’s self-service bag drop is being adopted at numerous airports, including Brisbane and Melbourne where passengers now drop their bags off in as little as 25 seconds. At present, just 13% of airports offer unstaffed bag drops, while 45% expect to do so by 2015, according to the Airport IT Trends Survey 2013.

These are all part of a comprehensive SITA baggage portfolio.  Today, SITA’s baggage management services are relied on by 200 airports and 500 airlines worldwide, while more than 2,200 airport locations use SITA’s WorldTracer, a global service that matches found bags with lost bag reports developed in cooperation with IATA.

Good news

Baggage Report 2015

“Baggage delivery has hit an all-time high,” says the 2015 Baggage Report, produced by SITA in association with Air Transport World.

It shows the air transport industry's success in tackling a big area of passenger dissatisfaction. The good news comes as passenger numbers continue to rise.

The 2014 report says the rate of mishandled bags per thousand passengers dropped 21.2% from the previous year. That’s just half the rate reported 10 years ago, despite a 65.6% rise in passenger numbers over those 10 years.

IATA Resolution 753 will bring more good news for passengers.

Read the 2015 Baggage Report

Driving down costs


IATA estimates that the industry is spending US$ 31billion on moving bags annually. Its InBag program aims to help the industry reduce baggage handling costs in six ways:

  1. Promoting self-service through electronic and home-printed bag-tags and providing the standards for electronic bag-claim receipts
  2. Using a baggage quality metric set by airlines, airports and ground handlers to focus attention on performance
  3. Updating the data infrastructure with an XML data model to allow consistent baggage data representation between partners
  4. Using technology such as scanning for tracking to increase the efficiency of baggage handling operations
  5. Increasing security efficiency by enabling the sharing of security information between more airports
  6. Standardizing the off-airport acceptance of baggage to reduce peak-time baggage flows
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