RFID Systems for Airport Operations (Cargo Handling)

Airport operations in Canada and the U.S. include the following: aviation standards, aviation management, transportation logistics, quality assurance and control, airline operations, emergency planning and preparedness, cargo operations, safety management systems and flight planning and dispatch.

The global market for the 2000 airlines operating 23,000 aircrafts provides service to 3700 airports. There were 28 million scheduled flights in 2006 that carried over 2 billion passengers. Worldwide annual growth in air travel is double than the annual growth in GDP, this trend is estimated to double over the next 10-15 years.

The U.S. market operates over 100 certified passenger airlines with 11 million flight departures per year. The U.S. airline industry encompasses one-third of the world’s air traffic, generates 4160 billion in total revenues and was responsible for employing 545,000 employees. Approximately 8000 aircrafts operate with 31,000 flights per day. The commercial airline industry contributes 8 percent to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product.

GAO RFID solutions for airport operations are designed to help airports tackle the common challenge of missing or lost luggage and cargo, as well as control of access to prohibited areas throughout the facility. Some examples include:

  • Baggage check-in
  • Cargo check-in
  • Baggage tracing
  • Luggage retrieving
  • Airlines avoiding compensation to passengers
  • Tracking passengers luggage
  • Keep sensitive areas off limits to visitors
  • Track personnel movement throughout the facility

Our RFID Systems can automate airport operations and when it comes to processing passenger luggage and undercarriage cargo, while access to special zones and providing personnel safety can be controlled using our technology.

GAO RFID System Solutions: Airport Operations Cargo Handling

The average industry’s cost to replace mishandled baggage is US$100 per person. RFID is the ideal technology to prevent or reduce mishandled and lost luggage. Airports are handling increased numbers of people every year, passengers are already dismayed at standing in long queues. The costs generated by preventable baggage loss using RFID will save the airline industry millions of dollars in lost revenue. One percent of the 1.7 billion bags that pass through baggage claims will benefit from full implementation of radio frequency tagging, estimates are RFID could save the aviation industry US$760 million annually.

Improving baggage handling

Most airports worldwide use a scanner and a paper printed barcode attached at the check-in counter for baggage identification. This is an inefficient method for scanning luggage for the following reasons.

  • The barcode optical sight must align with the barcode, it cannot read the tag if it is ripped or missing
  • Airport staff must individually scan each luggage, this is time consuming
  • Numerous bags go unscanned
  • Barcode paper is easily crumpled making it hard for scanners to accurately read
  • Luggage barcode tags that are accidentally removed during baggage handling are unable to find its way into the airports computer database, resulting in lost luggage

According to data from the IATA 800,000 pieces of luggage go missing in the world every year. Sorting, loading and offloading of baggage is a complex process fraught with trying to correctly identify luggage. A mistake in tagging an article of luggage due to human error at the check-in or if a passenger arrives late can throw a wrench in the logistics of baggage handling. This is how our GAO RFID Asset Tracking System can help.

At the arrival destination similar looking bags can be taken by another passenger by accident or baggage can be intentionally stolen. Whatever the reason is for lost or stolen luggage it ends up costing the airline and airport part of their revenue. This ends up costing the passengers in the end because the airline must raise travel costs to offset the incompetence of their existing baggage handling system. Compensation for passengers are standardised by IATA and the airline the passenger travels on. Each bag the airline loses can cost the airline between US$100 to $150 not including the cost of an airplane being held bag because of a mishandled bag.

Increasing control of areas throughout the facility

Whether it is providing airline staff access to flight areas, ensuring maintenance staff have access to authorized zones, or ensuring visitors don’t stumble into a hazardous area, controlling doors and the access to areas are a top priority for Airport operations staff. Instead of using keys or passcodes, RFID Badges can be integrated with the employee`s entire information, and allow managers to remotely grant access to specific zones based on the employee`s status and access level. In addition, knowing who accessed a zone and when is easily accomplished via a robust list of custom reports ensuring Airport operations stay safe and secure

Integrating our solution with Airport Operations

The GAO RFID Airport Operations radio frequency identification (RFID) technology incorporates RFID tags that emit a radio signal that matches a user defined serial number of a piece of luggage or unlocks access to specific zones based on employee user level.

Hong Kong International airport has already implemented RFID in relation to tagging of airline luggage. San Francisco, Paris, Amsterdam and other international airports are currently conducting trials. Vancouver, New York, Honolulu, London, Nairobi and several other airports have completed operational trials.

Contact us for more information on how our RFID system can be configured for your airport operation.