The International Air Transport Association has committed to developing a global plan to standardize and mandate RFID inlays in luggage tags, citing a similar tracking program adopted by Delta Airlines as the catalyst for its decision.
During the organization’s annual meeting in early June, the IATA board voted to develop a standard within one year for using RFID (radio frequency identification) to track bags, according to the RFID Journal.
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The organization hopes to begin rolling out RFID bag tracking in 2020 for all airlines.
“We have got one year to develop a global deployment standard that will see IATA-standard RFID inlays in all baggage tags,” Alexandre De Juniac, IATA’s director general, said at the gathering. “During that time, we will align our partners in the value chain, especially airports.”
The publication described IATA’s decision as good news for travelers everywhere when it comes to dealing with the hassle of lost luggage.
“Delta Air Lines deserves a lot of credit for being the first airline to show that RFID could be a cost-effective solution to the problem,” added RFID Journal.
With RFID technology and the Delta mobile app, passengers are able to track the movement of their luggage and receive notifications when checked bags are safely stowed on their plane.
Delta introduced RFID bag tags in 2016 after which IATA shared results of a study finding that a global RFID solution could reduce the number of mishandled bags by up to 25 percent by 2022.
Since the launch of RFID bag tags and real-time tracking, Delta has seen a steady improvement in baggage reliability, ranking first amongst competitors seven of the past 12 months, compared to no first-place finishes in 2016, according to a statement from the airline.
RFID is a form of wireless communication that can be used to track objects equipped with an RFID-embedded chip.
Today, the vast majority of bags are checked and tracked using barcode technology, however, it’s not possible to achieve the industry’s target of 100 percent bag tracking using existing barcode technology.
An RFID-chip, or inlay, produces a continuous very low energy signal that allows bags to be tracked virtually at any point in the journey, using an RFID reader.
RFID already is used extensively in aviation, including in the tracking of high-value aircraft parts and components. Some airlines and airports individually have also introduced RFID bag tracking.