An increasing number of airlines are looking to RFID tracking systems to eliminate the problem of lost luggage and save revenue in the process.
According to a report from SITA, a company specializing in air transport communication and IT solutions, 32% or airlines are expected to implement RFID tracking solutions within the next two years, up from 11% in 2008 and 2% in 2007. The report also found that the number of checked bags that were late, sent to the wrong destination, damaged or lost fell by 23% in 2008, an improvement attributable in part to the growing adoption of RFID technology in airports.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has recently set up a task force to determine an international standard for RFID baggage tags. Additionally, earlier this year FKI Logistex, a provider of automated material handling solutions, developed the industry’s first combined bar code and RFID unit.
The IATA predicts that the widespread adoption of RFID in airports around the world will be a slow process, but the airlines are nibbling. In February United Airlines completed a six-week trial using RFID to tag bags at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.
A 2008 baggage report by SITA showed that by using RFID airlines could save nearly $1 billion in revenue lost to mishandled baggage. The report stated that in 2007 the airline industry lost $12.4 billion due solely to mishandling luggage. With the airline industry ailing as it is, implementing RFID systems in airports is clearly in the best interest of both the airlines and the customer.
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