SITA and Middle East Airlines–Air Liban (MEA) have renewed a technology contract and moved the airport's baggage reconciliation system (BRS) at Rafic Hariri International Airport - Beirut to the cloud, increasing operational efficiency. This technology will significantly reduce operational costs for the airport and airline, with the server-less design avoiding on-site interventions to refresh, upgrade, maintain, and support multiple obsolete devices, such as servers.
By installing SITA’s Bag Manager cloud solution, the airport will be able to process around nine million bags per year compared to three million bags in previous years without any significant equipment investment. Airports globally are looking to increase the volume of passengers and capacity and regain lost revenues from the pandemic, with baggage handling presenting a significant obstacle to overcome.
The cloud-based technology solution will be pivotal in reducing the number of mishandled bags and supporting quick repatriation of mishandled ones, leading to higher customer satisfaction and decreased costs. SITA Bag Manager tracks every bag loaded onto an aircraft, a unit load device (ULD), or a cart. It scans and evaluates the characteristics of each bag against the flight parameters to ensure bags are loaded onto the right aircraft.
The SITA Baggage IT Insights 2022 report revealed that the global mishandled baggage rate increased by 24% to 4.35 bags per thousand passengers in 2021 as the industry recovered from the pandemic, primarily impacted by the quick resumption of international travel and reduced workforces.
Dr. Adib Charif, Head of IT, MEA, said: "SITA has been the provider of BRS at Rafic Hariri International Airport - Beirut since 2009, and we're excited to continue our technology partnership with this next stage of our digitalization program. By moving a server-based system to the cloud, we've cut down on cumbersome operation procedures, eliminated regular maintenance costs, and freed up resources to focus on other essential services. We're committed to giving passengers a seamless passenger journey and leading the way in the region during the industry recovery".
Hani El Asaad, President, Middle East & Africa SITA, said: "We've seen a global trend in the rate of mishandled bags increasing in line with the rapid resumption of international travel. Technology holds the solutions to the challenges our industry is facing during this transformative post-pandemic period, where airports and airlines need to achieve more with less. We're excited to partner again with MEA to deliver a smart and agile cloud-based solution to overcome these hurdles, increase operational efficiency and boost passenger confidence.”
MEA is the flag carrier of Lebanon and represents around 40% of the traffic at the airport. Middle East Airline Ground Handing (MEAG, a subsidiary of MEA) represents 80% of the baggage processing at the airport, while the remaining 20% is handled by The Lebanese Air Transport (LAT, the ground handlers), which also installed SITA's cloud-based BRS.