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Tracking system may reduce lost, delayed luggage


Whether on a long-anticipated vacation or important business trip, having baggage go missing during a flight puts an annoying crimp in any travel plan.

However, a whole-journey luggage tracking system may put an end to lost or delayed baggage, which poses security risks and costs airlines across the globe a lot of money.

According to a report released last year by aviation IT specialist SITA, the total cost to the civil aviation industry for baggage mishandling stood at $2.4 billion in 2018.

To counter that, China has kicked off a pilot program for a luggage tracking system on three air routes between six major airports-Beijing Capital, Beijing Daxing, Shanghai Hongqiao, Guangzhou Baiyun, Shenzhen Bao'an and Chongqing Jiangbei airports-according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

The system makes it possible for passengers to track the real-time status of their luggage on a mobile app that tracks identification tags attached to each piece of luggage, according to Beijing Capital International Airport.

The information about the luggage, including its location, is stored in the tags and will be updated at six key points in the journey-check-in, security check, sorting, truck loading, aircraft loading and luggage arrival.

Lyu Erxue, deputy head of the administration, said that mishandled or missing luggage are among the top complaints made by air passengers. The adoption of a whole-journey luggage tracking system is of great importance to China's civil aviation industry in enhancing its service to passengers.

By the end of 2021, passengers flying domestic routes between mega civil airports with an annual passenger throughput of over 10 million trips will be capable of tracking their luggage during their whole journey, he said, adding that the system will be promoted on all domestic routes by 2025 with trials starting on international routes.

The latest statistics from the Civil Aviation Administration of China show that the nation had 238 civil airports by the end of 2019, including 39 each with annual throughput exceeding 10 million passenger trips.

Li Xiaojin, a professor of aviation economics at the Civil Aviation University of China in Tianjin, said the move will cut down on inexplicably lost luggage and the number of extremely angry passengers.

"Passengers want to arrive with their bags. On the rare occasion when that does not happen, they want to know exactly where their bag is," he said. "Deploying an advanced baggage tracking system will help staff reduce mishandling and recover mishandled bags more swiftly."

China Daily

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