Global deployment of radiofrequency identification (RFID) technology to track passengers’ baggage in real time could yield $3 billion in savings for the air transport industry over the next seven years, according to research from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

RFID technology could also reduce the number of mishandled bags by up to 25% by 2022, IATA says. In particular, RFID would address mishandling during bag transfer from one flight to another, one of the areas identified where the technology could help improve baggage handling rates.

RFID technology could reduce the number of mishandled bags by up to 25% by 2022.RFID technology could reduce the number of mishandled bags by up to 25% by 2022.According to IATA, RFID capabilities can be deployed for as little $0.10 per passenger, on average, while generating expected savings of more than $0.20 per passenger. With some airlines and airports already use RFID technology, combined with its compatibility with existing barcode technology, adoption of RFID across all airports could provide a positive return for airlines, both in cost savings and passenger satisfaction, IATA says.

IATA's research assumptions are based on RFID being deployed in 722 airports, representing 95% of passenger numbers globally, over a six-year period between 2016 and 2021. The savings are calculated over seven years, through 2022.

This has included trials and technology implementation by U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines. Initial deployments of RFID by Delta and other airlines show a "99% success rate" for tracking bags, IATA says.

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