One provider of IT solutions to the travel sector is keeping a step ahead of changing industry – and customer – requirements
Andrew Price, head of global baggage operations at IATA, remarks: “Given the technology available today, significant lost and delayed baggage should be a thing of the past.. “However, it is still a very real irritation for travellers, ranking as the number one passenger complaint for airlines according to SKYTRAX. Baggage mishandling is more than an inconvenience; the personal nature of baggage brings out very strong feelings in passengers.”
IATA’s resolution 753 is aiming to improve the processes around baggage and ensure tracking information is shared with everyone involved in moving a bag and getting it back to the passenger, outlines Patricia Maya, head of product management baggage at Amadeus IT Group. This will not only assist in making the passenger experience better by reducing the number of mishandled bags, but helps airlines save money on compensation for lost or delayed bags, she says.
“The focus of the resolution is communication and common capabilities: it is the first attempt to make consistent the capabilities of airlines and airports to provide information to each other. Airlines will be required to comply by June 2018, at which point everyone will have accurate information about the whereabouts of each item of baggage, regardless of airlines or airport.”
Meeting the requirements
Obviously, there is concern that this is going to prove costly, needing investment in tools to accomplish the necessary communication of data. Price observes: “Although IATA Resolution 753 is primarily the responsibility of the airlines, baggage is handled by many different parties throughout the process: airlines, airports and baggage handling companies. Airlines bear the ultimate responsibility for delivering the correct bag to the correct passenger, so they will have to ask airports and ground handlers to make various technological and system features available to them to meet the resolution’s requirements.
“Advanced baggage tracking technology, like the Amadeus BRS, which can match real-time passenger, flight, and baggage data from check-in until flight departure, will be crucial in helping airlines become compliant without affecting their bottom line,” Price believes.
Maya feels that “exchanging data should no longer be the only way. Looking ahead to this [resolution] and more to come, Amadeus has introduced the concept of ‘sharing’ instead of ‘exchanging’, where data is freely distributed in a secure environment.”
In other words, Amadeus BRS is a solution modelled on social media platforms, where information is shared with selected partners within a private environment. It acts as a hub that offers a common space for baggage operations for different aviation stakeholders. Check-in agents, gate agents, baggage agents and ramp agents work on the same platform, with a single shared real-time view of the passenger, baggage and flight readiness.
“Increased collaboration between airports and airlines, better communication, and advanced baggage tracking technologies will ensure a less stressful experience for passengers and a less costly one for the industry,” Maya sums up.
In particular, Amadeus BRS could “help communication costs for airlines associated with type-B messages”, according to Margarita de Lucas head of marketing, airport IT at Amadeus IT Group.
For example, Icelandair Ground Services chose Amadeus BRS when it needed to migrate from a manual baggage process to an automated one in order to comply with new airport requirements at Keflavik in response to changing legislation. John Jarrell, head of airport IT at Amadeus IT Group, notes that Amadeus BRS enabled the baggage handler to exchange TTY messages for free with any airline customer using Amadeus Altéa, resulting in more cost savings over and above those achieved through improved luggage tracking.
“In just one year, Icelandair – as an airline – have reduced their type-B messaging by 41% on all of their departure flights operating out of Keflavik airport, thanks to full integration with Amadeus Altéa,” Jarrell points out. “This is estimated to save the airline around 430,000 EUR over the next five years. In addition, Icelandair Ground Services have reduced lost baggage by 18%, bringing savings to their airline customers of 250,800 EUR in just 12 months.”