AI Revolutionizes Baggage Handling Efficiency Amid Air Travel Surge

Despite a surge in passenger traffic, the air transport industry improves baggage handling efficiency, with mishandled baggage rates decreasing, aided by AI and data analysis technologies.

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SITA, air transport technology solutions, reports an improvement in baggage handling efficiency despite increased passenger traffic. According to the SITA Baggage IT Insights 2024 report, mishandled baggage rates decreased from 7.6 to 6.9 per 1,000 passengers in 2023, even as passenger numbers surged to 5.2 billion, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.


Key technological advancements, particularly in AI for data analysis and computer vision in automated baggage handling, have contributed significantly to this improvement. The report notes a 63% decline in mishandled baggage from 2007 to 2023, despite a 111% increase in passenger numbers.

The air transport industry continues to face challenges, especially with rising baggage volumes. The push for digitalization, including full automation, effective communication, and comprehensive visibility of each bag's journey, is crucial. The survey highlights the importance of self-service technologies, with 85% of airports and two-thirds of airlines now offering self-service bag drop options.

Collaboration remains essential, with SITA emphasizing the need for better data sharing between airlines and airports. Currently, only 58% of airlines share baggage collection data, while 66% of airports share delivery data with airlines. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airports Council International (ACI) advocate for full baggage tracking and real-time status updates to enhance passenger experience and reduce anxiety.


David Lavorel, CEO of SITA, emphasized the importance of these technological advancements: “The improved mishandled baggage rate is encouraging, especially with the increase in global passenger traffic. Investments in AI and computer vision technologies, along with better collaboration and communication, are essential for smoother operations and better passenger experiences.”

Regional Insights

  • North America: The baggage mishandling rate dropped from 7.1 per 1,000 bags in 2007 to 5.8 in 2023, with U.S. airlines reducing mishandling by 9% in 2023.
  • Europe: The region saw the largest global decrease, from 16.6 per 1,000 bags in 2007 to 10.6 in 2023.
  • Asia Pacific: Maintained the lowest mishandling rates globally, at 3.0 per 1,000 bags in 2023, reflecting successful digitalization investments.