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Fri, Mar 26, 2010 - Page 10 News List

Report shows 25m bags went missing on airlines last year

AFP , GENEVA

Twenty-five million bags went missing in the world’s airports last year, costing the airline industry US$2.5 billion, data released yesterday by air transport electronics group SITA showed.

Just over half of these bags, 52 percent, were misplaced during aircraft transfers, while another 16 percent did not arrive at the destination on time as they were not loaded on planes, luggage tracking data showed.

Other problems included ticketing errors, mishandling at the arrival point, and tagging problems, SITA said.

It was citing data from the World Tracer luggage tracking database, which is co-sponsored by the company and airline industry group IATA.

The vast majority of the missing luggage was traced and returned within 48 hours. However, 3.4 percent of the total — 850,000 items — either remained unclaimed or were stolen, added SITA, which makes luggage handling systems.

Despite the millions of bags that went missing last year, SITA said the figures were an improvement of 23.8 percent on the previous year, when 32.8 million bags failed to arrive on time.

“Some of the decline can be attributed to fewer passengers traveling last year, but the 2.9 percent decline in passenger numbers is still far smaller than the 23.8 percent decline in mishandled baggage,” it said.

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