Tech reduces baggage mishandling rates says SITA

June 18, 2024
The Swiss company says a steep 63% drop in the mishandling rate from 2007 to 2023 happened as passenger traffic rose by 111%.

GENEVA - SITA, a leading company in technology solutions for the air transport industry, announced an improvement in the air transport industry’s rate of mishandled baggage. The newly launched SITA Baggage IT Insights 2024 reports the number of bags mishandled by the industry falling from 7.6 to 6.9 per 1,000 passengers in 2023. This is despite passenger numbers rising above 2019 levels for the first time in five years, growing to 5.2 billion.

The long-term trend underlines the positive impact of technology investments. A steep 63% drop in the mishandling rate from 2007 to 2023 happened as passenger traffic rose by 111%. But the industry still faces challenges, particularly managing surges in baggage volumes. Pushing ahead with the industry’s digitalization agenda is vital, argues the survey, focusing on AI for data analysis and computer vision tech in automated baggage handling.

SITA research highlights increasing passenger anxiety about delays and cancellations, with 32% expressing concerns in 2023. Two-thirds of airlines now provide unassisted bag drop services, and 85% of airports offer self-service bag drop. This trend indicates a growing demand for self-service technology to improve passenger flow. Additionally, 32% of passengers use mobile phones for bag collection information, showing a need for better communication and visibility in the baggage process.

Related: ITA Airways selects SITA to upgrade its digital network

Collaboration between airlines and airports is essential, though there is room for improvement in data sharing. Currently, 58% of airlines share baggage collection data, while 66% of airports share baggage delivery data with airlines. SITA’s Baggage IT Insights survey references IATA’s Resolution 753, advocating for full baggage tracking and real-time status data. The Airports Council International also calls for enhanced self-service, communication, and visibility to reduce passenger stress.

In North America, the report notes a decrease in the baggage mishandling rate from 7.1 per 1,000 passengers in 2007 to 5.8 in 2023. U.S. airlines reduced mishandled baggage by 9% in 2023, aided by additional frontline workers and investments in baggage technology.

In Europe, the mishandling rate dropped from 16.6 per 1,000 passengers in 2007 to 10.6 in 2023, the largest long-term decline globally.

Related: Airlines and airports increase IT spending, says SITA

In the Asia-Pacific region, the mishandling rate remained steady, with 3.1 per 1,000 passengers in 2007 and 3.0 in 2023. Despite recovery challenges, this region maintains the lowest mishandling rate globally, attributed to successful investments in digitalizing baggage handling processes.

David Lavorel, SITA CEO, said: “The improved mishandled baggage rate in 2023 is great news for passengers and for aviation. It’s especially impressive as global passenger traffic grew strongly in 2023 and is set to double by 2040. We clearly see from the SITA Baggage IT Insights results that baggage automation is the way forward, with more collaboration, more communication with passengers, and investments in new technologies such as AI and computer vision to make the journey smoother. From my own travel experiences, I can say this will be really welcome.  Technologies like these are essential because they help us gather, integrate, and share data effectively. This means we can uncover important insights that make decision-making easier and more automated.” 

SATA's report is available here.

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