The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently released a global progress report on the implementation of baggage tracking, showing that European airlines lag behind in adopting the latest measures proposed by the association.

The report focuses on IATA Resolution 753, which requires tracking baggage at various stages including acceptance, loading, transfer, and arrival.

“Between 2007 and 2022 baggage mishandling reduced by nearly 60 per cent. That is good news. But travellers expect better, and the industry is determined to make further improvements,” said Monika Mejstrikova, IATA Director of Ground Operations.

“Tracking bags at acceptance, loading, transfer and delivery will give the industry the data it needs to improve,” she added.

According to the survey, which included 155 airlines and 94 airports, 44 per cent of airlines have fully implemented Resolution 753, while an additional 41 per cent are in progress.

The adoption rates vary significantly by region. China and North Asia lead the way with 88 per cent of airlines fully implementing the resolution.

In the Americas, the rate is 60 per cent, followed by 40 per cent in Europe and Asia-Pacific, and just 27 per cent in Africa.

When it comes to airports, the report revealed that 75 per cent have the capability to track baggage according to Resolution 753.

Moreover, airport preparedness varies by size, with 75 per cent of mega airports, 85 per cent of major airports, 82 per cent of large airports, and 61 per cent of medium airports being equipped for the required tracking.

The dominant technology for baggage tracking at airports is optical barcode scanning, implemented by 73 per cent of the surveyed airports.

However, RFID technology, which is more efficient, is used by 27 per cent of airports. In addition, RFID has a higher adoption rate at mega airports, with 54 per cent already using this advanced tracking system.

This report highlighted the travel industry’s progress toward comprehensive baggage tracking, which promises to enhance the travel experience by reducing instances of lost or mishandled luggage.

Mejstrikova said that “tracking reduces overall mishandlings and helps airlines reunite mishandled bags with their owners even faster”.

“With 44 per cent of airlines already fully implementing Resolution 753 tracking and a further 41 per cent in progress, travellers can have even more confidence that their bags will be at the carousel on arrival,” she added.

Finally, the association noted that in 2022, “the global rate of mishandled bags was 7.6 per 1,000 passengers“, while the “majority of these were returned within 48 hours“.