Since June 2018, all IATA (International Air Transport Association) members should comply with a resolution on baggage tracking. It is known as RESOLUTION 753: BAGGAGE TRACKING and includes the following obligations:
- Demonstrate delivery of baggage when its custody changes
- Demonstrate reception of baggage when its custody changes
- Provide an inventory of baggage before the flight departs
- Be able to exchange said delivery/reception information with other airlines
It is not only important to know what it is, but also how it affects airports, airlines and handling companies.
Change of custody is construed to encompass the following cases:
- Delivery of baggage to the passenger, considering delivery by the handling company and the capture of information by the arrivals facilities, be it a baggage reclaim belt or delivery to the passenger’s home, etc.
- Loading of baggage onto the aircraft, considering delivery by the handling company and the capture of information by the airline.
- Delivery of baggage to the airline, considering delivery by the handling company and the capture of information by the airline.
Firstly, it is worth remembering that baggage today is always identified by a printed tag and a computer record in the form of a message known as Bag Source Message (BSM), which includes the date, flight number, destination, record number and a unique bar code, which is typically referred to as the “License plate” by IATA. This BSM message is checked against a common world-wide database to ensure the destination is correct.
Until recently, unique verification consisted of certifying that all the baggage onboard corresponded to embarked passengers. If a passenger failed to turn up for a flight, his/her baggage was taken off the aeroplane before take-off.
According to this new resolution, a record should also be kept when the handling company delivers the baggage to the arrivals area (change of custody point 1), when the handling company delivers it to or loads it onto the aircraft (change of custody point 2) and when the handling company unloads it from the aircraft (change of custody point 3).
To conclude, there are a series of possibilities to meet this new requirement which require infrastructures to gather information at points in the terminal and on the apron or ramp. It will therefore be necessary to be equipped with new technologies like baggage delivery arc readers for reclaim by passengers and pistols or portable arc readers to record baggage on the tarmac next to the aeroplane.
The path is therefore opening up for a new line of services provided by the airport manager which can ensure compliance with the new IATA requirements and thus to provide support to any airlines and handling agents which must meet them through a BRS (Baggage Reconciliation System) and a system of ATR (Automatic Tag Reader) arcs.