IATA Announced Mandate for RFID Inlays In All Baggage Tags From 2020
The IATA Board of Governors, meeting at the 74th IATA Annual General Meeting, mandated IATA to address passenger expectations for real-time tracking of baggage. The first step is to develop a global development plan that will see IATA-standard RFID inlays in all baggage tags. This process is expected to take about a year. During that time IATA will also align with our partners in the value chain—especially airports—in order to achieve the industry vision to begin rolling out RFID bag tracking from 2020.
- RFID or radio frequency identification is a form of wireless communication that can be used to track objects equipped with an RFID-embedded chip.
- Today, the vast majority of bags are checked and tracked using barcode technology, however, it is not possible to achieve the industry’s target of 100% bag tracking using existing barcode technology.
- An RFID-chip (or inlay) produces a continuous very low energy signal that allows bags to be tracked virtually at any point in the journey, using an RFID reader. The RFID signal does not interfere with any aircraft systems.
- RFID already is used extensively in aviation, for example in the tracking of high-value aircraft parts and components and also for things such as ramp equipment and ULDs. Some airlines and airports individually have also introduced RFID bag tracking.
- RFID was selected over other potential bag tracking solutions owing to the combination of reliability, maturity, widespread availability and cost. RFID achieves a read rate of 99-100%, making it the leading technology for ensuring accurate bag tracking.
- The cost of an individual RFID-inlayed bag tag is estimated at US 3-5 cents apiece, while the cost of readers ranges from US $1,500-5,000. This investment will be more than offset by the benefits, including the ability to track the bag through all airport processes, resulting in fewer lost bags, reduced theft and fraud and a better experience for air travelers.