Airlines, airports look to artificial intelligence to revolutionize baggage management

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

New Delhi: The smart use of technologies such as artificial intelligence is expected to revolutionize the management of baggage over the next decade, promising to make mishandled bags an increasingly rare event for passengers globally. This is according SITA’s Intelligent Tracking: A Baggage Management Revolution paper published today.

The paper notes that more than 4.5 billion bags are handled by industry baggage systems each year but airlines and airports will have to cope with twice that number with passenger numbers set to double over the next 20 years. Already, through improvements to technology and processes, the air transport industry has halved its annual mishandling cost over the past decade from US$4.22bn to US$2.1bn. However, every mishandled bag is one too many and the industry continues to seek ways to reduce the number further.

Ilya Gutlin, President of SITA Air Travel Solutions, said: “We at SITA believe that harnessing data and AI in a meaningful way will revolutionize how we manage the air transport industry in the next decade. SITA has a unique role to play in realizing the potential of data and baggage management is one area that will benefit. It is an area we are strongly focused on, collaborating across the industry to innovate.”

The industry’s immediate focus is on implementing the International Air Transport Association’s Resolution 753. The resolution requires member airlines keep track of each bag and share that tracking information with all involved in delivering those bags back to passengers at their destination. While the resolution will deliver accurate data on the journey undertaken by each and every bag, the industry is already looking beyond the resolution to develop an even more accurate model for baggage operations.

Ilya Gutlin, said: “The bag tracking data that will be generated and collected under Resolution 753 will provide the air transport industry with a rich stream of data. This can be enhanced with AI tools to create greater efficiencies in baggage operations and, ultimately, to improve our experience as passengers.”

From an operations point of view, AI will allow airports and airlines to learn what baggage routes cause the most stress on their systems and what factors are most likely to cause them. These systems could also generate insight into the patterns of baggage movements that would enable airlines to deliver bags more effectively.