Since 2003, global airline passenger traffic has zoomed by 85 percent reaching around 3.5 million in the last calendar year. Given the growth in traffic, one could be forgiven for assuming that baggage-related issues would have risen proportionately. But a report by SITA, a global leader in air transport communications and IT solutions, seems to dismiss that hypothesis.
According to the SITA Baggage Report 2016, the rate of mishandled bags was 6.53 bags per thousand passengers in 2015, which is less than half of what it used to be in 2003.
And it is said to be the lowest rate recorded in the aviation industry as per the report, which also talks about a 10.5 percent drop in the rate of mishandled bags in 2015 as compared to 2014.
A mishandled bag has been defined as a delayed, damaged or pilfered bag which is recorded by either an airline or its handling company on behalf of the passenger. Globally, about one in five passengers carry only carry-on luggage, while a majority of passengers check-in at least one bag. In 2015, the average check-in baggage was 1.2 bags per passenger.
“The baggage statistics for 2015 are very encouraging, however, in total, mishandled bags still cost the industry $2.3 billion last year. While this is a 3.75 percent reduction from 2014, it is clear that this must remain an area of focus for the industry,” said Francesco Violante, CEO, SITA. The company has been a pioneer in providing baggage tracking and tracing solutions for the air transport community for more than 20 years.
More than 200 airports and 500 airlines across the world use SITA’s baggage management solutions. “Its proprietary BagMessage system delivers more than 2.5 billion messages between airline departure control systems and automated baggage systems annually. And more than 2,800 airport locations use WorldTracer, SITA's system which traces mishandled bags globally,” read the report.
In absolute terms, the total number of mishandled bags in 2015 was 23.1 million, down by almost 5 percent from 24.3 million in 2014. “Taking into account the increase in passenger numbers in 2015, this means the mishandling rate has dropped to 6.53 bags per thousand passengers–a 10.5 percent decrease from the previous year,” the report said. In 2003, the rate of mishandled bags was 13.2 bags per thousand passengers, while in absolute terms, the total number of bags mishandled was 24.9 million. In 2007, the absolute figure had peaked to 46.9 million.