Geneva (dpa) - airlines want to reduce the loss of luggage significantly and in the future provide each piece of luggage with a readable via radio waves RFID chip.

The comprehensive equipment should begin in early 2020, said Andrew Price, head of the luggage department at the airline IATA, the German press agency in Geneva. The decision should be announced at the plenary assembly of members in South Korea in early June.

"I hope that by the end of 2020, luggage will be RFID-enabled on half of all passenger journeys," Price said. By the end of 2023 it should be as good as all suitcases. About 290 airlines are organized in 120 countries in IATA, which account for 82 percent of air traffic, including Lufthansa.

In 2007, according to a report by the IT airline service provider Sita about 18 pieces of luggage per 1000 passengers misguided. Ten years later there were only about six left. But that was 23 million pieces of luggage worldwide. "With RFID, we can reduce the number by another 25 percent if everyone joins in," says Price.

RFID chips are to be integrated into the banderole with bar code, which gets checked-in luggage at check-in. Readers on luggage belts, in luggage halls and during loading and unloading can then automatically register the cases throughout the journey. Today, bags at many airports would be manually scanned, Price says.

"This innovation allows us to know where luggage is at any time. If a part is misdirected, we see it and can intervene and send it to the right airport before the passenger leaves a missing message, "says Price. "This will result in fewer pieces of luggage being lost. And if it does happen, they'll be back with the passenger sooner. "

Airlines could also allow customers to track the whereabouts of their suitcase in an app on their smartphone. This is what the US airline Delta offers, a pioneer of RFID chips in luggage. In the long term, personal and reusable RFID labels are conceivable that will take passengers to their luggage at home.

To enable RFID data to be read and exchanged worldwide, airports and airlines must invest. The saving potential is three times as high as the expenses. IATA estimates that $ 3.8 billion can be saved over seven years. On the one hand less bags would be lost and would have to be searched. On the other hand, RFID data is likely to show weaknesses in baggage handling that could be optimized.

Lufthansa is overcast. It is always worked on improvements, says spokeswoman Sandra force. "RFID can be a supporting technology, but not the only one possible. Among other things, Lufthansa is involved in investigations of RFID as a potential technology for the luggage services. ยป