The International Air Transport Association (IATA) set a deadline for compliance with Resolution 753 by June 2018. R753 was introduced to address the challenges of lost and misdirected passenger baggage, which costs the aviation industry billions of Euros every year and severely impacts the passenger experience.
The initiative was developed at the request of IATA member airlines and approved in 2013 by the Joint Passenger Services Conference, giving airlines five years to assess current procedures, identify gaps in processes and to implement solutions.
With an aim to also improve efficiencies across the baggage handling process as passenger numbers continue to rise year-on-year, IATA R753 demands improved baggage tracking at specific points in the baggage journey:
- Passenger handover to airline
- Loading to the aircraft
- Deliver to the transfer area
- Return to the passenger
Airlines must also make tracking information available to other partners, such as during interlining procedures, when baggage is transferred from aircraft to aircraft. Transfer is by far the most vulnerable part of the baggage journey and historically accounts for a significant 46% of all mishandled baggage.
Who is responsible for compliance with IATA R753?
Ultimately, responsibility for R753 compliance lies with IATA and member airlines. However, in many cases implementation of baggage tracking capabilities requires processing and infrastructural changes at a high level. IATA admit that these challenges are steep for airlines and pledged to support the industry to ensure tracking requirements can be met.
Airlines have been working closely with airports, key stakeholders and with IATA to ensure that a collaborative approach in a supportive environment is achievable.
The impact of R753 since its launch
Since the introduction of R753 in June 2018, it has become clear that not all airlines were prepared and ready to meet the guidelines, although most member airlines expect to be ready within three years.
Airlines that have implemented improved tracking at the relevant points in the baggage journey have noticed a difference in instances of misdirected luggage. Official numbers show that where bag tracking occurs at check-in and aircraft loading points, airlines have improved at a rate of between 38% and 66%. Although improvements in the baggage handling process have been showing over the past decade, some industry professionals insist that R753 will accelerate the elimination of mishandled baggage, particularly during interlining transfer, which still accounts for 46% of all lost and mishandled bags. During the last ten years, the annual bill for lost luggage has fallen from $4.2 billion in 2007 to 2018’s figure of $2.4 billion – a significant drop of 47%.
The impact on passenger experience
There is a global interest in the aviation industry to improve passenger experience and lost luggage is one of the biggest factors that lead to unhappy passengers. Some of the most technological baggage tracking advancements offer the ability to allow passengers access to tracking information for their luggage.
If lost bags are detected, passengers can be notified in advance, and the reuniting process can begin before the passenger lands at the destination airport. Tracking features have already improved this process and passengers are being reunited with their baggage more quickly and at a lower cost.
R753 compliance and RFID
Another initiative launched by IATA will support compliance with R753. Although not a requirement of R753, the use of RFID tagging will become an IATA mandatory requirement from January 2020. Every piece of luggage will need to have an RFID tag to enable precise location information at any point in its journey on the ground, and in the air.
It is clear to see how this type of proactive bag tracking can lead to enabling real-time baggage reporting and allow airlines to meet R753. Airports and other aviation partners will benefit from enhanced aircraft readiness, better efficiency and increased passenger satisfaction.
How A-ICE can help?
A-ICE (https://www.a-ice.aero/) uses in-depth knowledge and experience to deliver a robust, comprehensive solution for airlines and airports to help with IATA R753 compliance. Working with industry stakeholders at all levels, A-ICE has developed a fully integrated suite of solutions that tick the boxes for baggage handling very firmly.
Our Baggage Reconciliation System (A-BRS) (https://www.a-ice.aero/a-brs/) helps airports, airlines and ground handlers to assure that no baggage is loaded if the passenger is not onboard a specific flight, to quickly offload bags of no-show passengers, to reduce delays and tell load controllers exactly where to locate their bag.
It has been developed always keeping in mind the main obligations set out in R753:
- Demonstrate delivery of baggage when custody changes;
- Demonstrate acquisition of baggage when custody changes;
- Provide an inventory of bags upon departure of a flight.
A-BRS provides customizable loading strategies based on rules and constrains that allow each airline and baggage handler to configure its own set of tracking points to demonstrate the acquisition of the bag by the airline/handler and the delivery of the bag on to the aircraft. Additional tracking points can be configured in case of complex airport environments.
In addition to the normal BRS scope (Outbound baggage handling), A-BRS is also able to manage Transfer and Inbound baggage processes, tracking changes in custody between different carriers/ground handlers up to the delivery of the bag to the passenger.
According by the last obligation required by the R753, A-BRS can exchange data and events with airlines as needed.
It is integrated with DCS (Departure Control Systems) via IATA standard IATA RP1745 Baggage Service Messages. It receives messages issued by the carrier for each registered luggage and each following change (check-in, boarding, disembarks etc.) that modifies the authority to load, and returns messages with all bag details for each scanning operation.