Date: 18th September 2007
Source: http://www.australianit.news.com.au/sto ... 06,00.html
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Two Australian airports, believed to be Kingsford Smith in Sydney and Tullamarine in Melbourne, are on the list of 80 facilities slated to install RFID equipment.
The project could eventually involve the world's top 400 airports.
Kingsford Smith has already tested radio frequency identification tags this year, and a number of airports, including Hong Kong International and Beijing Capital International, are using the technology for internal baggage handling.
Inter-airport trials are also under way between Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur.
Details of the proposed worldwide shift to RFID tagging from the barcode baggage tags presently issued at check-in, were published in an International Air Transport Association RFID transition plan.
The association, which represents about 240 airlines, based the transition plan on studies of baggage mishandling at a number of major airports between February and April this year.
It estimated that 80 of the world's busiest airports were responsible for 80 per cent of lost and mishandled bags, and said all 80 airports could make the switch to RFID in less than five years at a combined capital cost of $US172.8 million ($205 million).
The association withheld the names of airports that would be involved in the first phase of the project, but the list includes 32 in the US, 22 in Europe, 11 in Canada, Central and South America, nine in Asia, two in the Middle East, two in Australia, one in New Zealand and one in South Africa.
US airports had particularly high rates of loss, while facilities in the Asia-Pacific region had low rates of loss.
An updated business case issued in the association in late June reported that lost and mishandled bags cost the airline industry almost $US5 billion last year, including $US1.2 billion in compensation to passengers and $US3.6 billion in labour.
For every 1000 passengers about 20 bags are lost or mishandled and the association estimates that airlines alone could save $US733 million a year if the entire industry moved to RFID.
Converting the first 80 airports would save $US200 million annually by the end of the first five years. The savings would flow from cuts to mishandling in two key areas that account for about 20 per cent of lost bags: barcode misreads and errors in electronic messages that tell airport computers where bags should be sent.
The biggest cause of lost and mishandled bags is aircraft late arrivals that do not allow enough time for the transfer of luggage to connecting flights. RFID would do little to minimise the impact of late arrivals on travellers.
It is also unclear when a shift to RFID tagging would begin, as the association did not issue a start date for the conversion of the first 80 airports despite issuing an estimated schedule for the change. The association must still win the backing of many airlines.
According to the association, half of all airlines back RFID, but the other half have concerns over costs, the maturity of the technology and the availability of suitable RFID tags, tag printers, tag readers and baggage management systems.
News and information about the use of radio technology in commercial or industrial environments.
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