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RFID continues to take flight in airline industry

RFID continues to take flight in airline industry

The use of RFID is soaring in the global airline business. In May, Delta Air Lines announced it is investing $50 million for RFID baggage tracking technology to track the 120 million bags it handles annually.

Last month the Asia Airfreight Terminal (AAT) in Hong Kong began using RFID unit load device (ULD) tags for pre-packaged cargo. ATT general manager Kuah Boon Kiam says that RFID will speed up the cargo acceptance process by 45 seconds per shipment.

RFID will speed up the cargo acceptance process by 45 seconds per shipment at Asia Airfreight Terminal.

By using RFID, the cargo acceptance process is streamlined to achieve higher operational efficiency and time-saving benefits. Previously, AAT’s cargo acceptance process for pre-packed shipments required two levels of manual data entry at the truck dock and identification point, entering weight and contour for the shipment into its cargo management system (CMS) and supervisory control systems. With RFID embedded on the ULD tag, the data entry process will only occur once at the truck dock area. Once the tag has been tied on the pre-packed shipment, data will be automatically captured when the shipment passes through the i-point.

“We are very pleased to have another innovative product brought to our valuable customers,” says Kiam. “RFID technology could definitely bring a new milestone for the air cargo industry in Hong Kong. Along with our highly reliable cargo operation team, AAT will continue to service our customers with increased efficiency.”

Delta, meanwhile, has deployed 4,600 scanners, 3,800 RFID bag tag printers and integrated 600 pier and claim readers to enable hands-free scanning of baggage throughout the handling process. Delta is the first U.S. carrier to provide customers with real-time tracking for their luggage.

“With a $50 million investment in RFID at 344 stations around the globe, we aim to reliably deliver every bag on every flight,” says Bill Lentsch, Delta’s senior vice president for airport customer service and cargo operations. “This innovative application of technology gives us greater data and more precise information throughout the bag’s journey.”