The air transport industry is losing US$2.5 billion a year because of lost luggage, a company which tracks the problem said yesterday.
An estimated 30 million bags go astray annually, and about 204,000 of them are stolen or lost for good, said SITA, a Geneva-based IT company which helps track baggage information worldwide.
In its annual review, SITA said that the problem of mishandled suitcases was worsening as airport congestion grew, passengers increasingly change airlines during a single journey, turnaround times get tighter, security regulations are beefed up and baggage volumes mount in line with booming passenger numbers.
Francesco Violante, managing director of SITA, said: "In 2005 the industry lost in the region of US$2.5 billion on mishandled baggage when you take into account the costs involved in reuniting the delayed baggage with its owner which, happily, is the case over 99 percent of the time."
"Growth is welcome but it has to be better managed if airlines and airports want to improve the passenger experience by eliminating delays from the system," Violante said in a statement.
He said the industry needed to adopt more sophisticated baggage tracking systems and give passengers more self-service options, including Internet check in.
"This will all help to simplify travel, reduce delays and baggage misconnections," he said.
SITA, working with the international airline body IATA, has developed an industry-standard system for hunting down lost and mishandled baggage.
Known as World Tracer, it is used by 391 airlines and ground handling firms around the world.
Based on data gathered by the system, SITA said that last year the largest single reason for baggage delay was mishandling during transfers: It represented 61 percent of cases.
Next was failure to load baggage (15 percent). Ticketing mistakes, accidental bag swaps between passengers and security controls accounted for a total of 9 percent each.
Those reasons were followed by baggage falling foul of space and weight restrictions (5 percent), errors in loading and unloading baggage (4 percent), mishandling at the arrival airport (3 percent) and tagging mistakes (3 percent).
SITA also found that it took an average of 31.2 hours from the time the bag was reported missing to when it is found and restored to its owner.
In Europe last year, 21 percent of flights were delayed and irregularities in baggage delivery performance were experienced for up to 14.1 bags per thousand passengers compared with 13.9 in 2004, SITA said.
On-time arrivals were also down in the US: 22.6 percent of flights were delayed and reports of mishandled baggage were 6.04 per thousand passengers compared with 4.91 two years ago, said SITA, citing figures from the US Department of Transportation.
"Routing more traffic through central hubs also means that small problems at one site can rapidly snowball out of control, impacting baggage transfers at other destinations down the line," SITA said.
The air industry has begun using tiny radio transmitters on passengers' luggage in order better to track baggage and prevent it from going astray.
Such radio frequency identification schemes are being used for baggage handling in just 6 percent of airports surveyed. The system is expected to be adopted in almost half of airports by the end of 2009, SITA said.
‘HONORED’: The DPP’s Lin Fei-fan said friends working in the foreign media, the diplomatic corps and at think tanks congratulated him for making the sanctions list The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday slammed China for sanctioning Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) and six other Taiwanese officials for being “diehard separatists,” saying its attempt to intimidate Taiwanese would backfire. China has no authority to dictate the actions of Taiwanese, because Taiwan is a democratic nation that upholds the rule of law, and would never yield to intimidation and threats from an authoritarian regime, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) told a news conference in Taipei. China’s state-run Xinhua news agency earlier yesterday reported that the Taiwan Work Office of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee has imposed
ORDNANCE: Under a five-year plan, the Chungshan Institute would make about 200 Hsiung Feng II and III/IIIE, and Hsiung Sheng missiles, an official said The Ministry of National Defense plans to counter the Chinese navy by producing more than 1,000 anti-ship missiles over the next five years, a defense official familiar with the matter said yesterday. The comments came after China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy began a series of military drills in a simulated naval blockade of Taiwan proper following a visit to Taipei by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Although China has in the past few years rapidly produced many warships and added them to its navy, these large vessels are more suited for warfare on the open sea than in the narrow
THAI ASSISTANCE: The representative office in Thailand worked with local authorities to help trafficking victims return home, while one in the group has been charged Eight Taiwanese who were lured to Cambodia with lucrative job offers only to be forced to work illegally were brought home on Sunday night in a joint effort between Taiwanese and Thai authorities, the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) said. Nine people — six men and three women aged 23 to 42 — boarded China Airlines Flight CI-836 from Bangkok, with assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 9:55pm and were taken to the Aviation Police Bureau for questioning before entering home isolation in accordance with Taiwan’s COVID-19 regulations. The Taoyuan District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday
The organizers of WorldPride 2025 have canceled the Kaohsiung event because its licensing group, InterPride, demanded that it remove “Taiwan” from the event’s name, they said in a statement yesterday. Kaohsiung was to host WorldPride Taiwan 2025 after being granted the right by the global LGBTQ advocacy group. However, the WorldPride 2025 Taiwan Preparation Committee said that InterPride recently gave “abrupt notice” asking it to change the name of the event and use “Kaohsiung” instead of “Taiwan,” even though it applied for the event using “Taiwan” in its name. The name was initially chosen for its significance to the Taiwanese LGBTQ community, as