High-tech helping hand during the Rugby World Cup

High-tech helping hand during the Rugby World Cup

Advanced baggage reconciliation system for 13 international airlines boosts security and efficiency of baggage in time for the games.

In time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, 13 international airlines operating to and from New Zealand have signed contracts with Unisys to provide an advanced baggage reconciliation system. The baggage reconciliation system links passengers with their bags, tracking both as they move through the system to help the airlines comply with aviation industry security requirements.

The system covers international flights operating from Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown and Wellington international airports.

The Board of Airline Representatives New Zealand (BARNZ), an industry representative organisation for airlines, manages the engagement with Unisys on behalf of the airlines. The contract is for four years and eight months.

Unisys says each year, these airlines must secure and validate up to three million bags for approximately 2.4 million air travellers on international flights to and from New Zealand.

These volumes are expected to increase significantly during the Rugby World Cup which starts on Friday.

The Unisys baggage reconciliation system helps airlines comply with the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) national aviation security program which covers International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) regulations for baggage handling so that unaccompanied baggage does not travel ahead of the passenger.

When passengers check in, each bag receives a barcode, which is then scanned and reconciled with a passenger record before it can be loaded onto the aircraft.

As the airline has a record of the baggage loading order, bags can be quickly identified and recovered if passengers fail to board. This process prevents take-off with a mismatch of passengers, crew and baggage. It also provides a tool to assist in delivering enhanced security levels to avoid unaccompanied baggage being loaded on the flight.

The key evaluation criteria for the contract included value for money, proven solution and capability, local support and ability to implement the solution before the Rugby World Cup.

“The Unisys baggage reconciliation system helps achieve efficiencies by using standardised processes to avoid lengthy processing or flight delays when baggage needs to be found and removed from flights,” says John Beckett, executive director, Board of Airline Representatives New Zealand. “It also helps our member airlines comply with compulsory security requirements for baggage handling and, just as importantly, improve their customers’ air travel experience by preventing passenger processing delays and enabling tight flying schedules.”

Unisys has provided a baggage reconciliation system for the Board of Airline Representatives Australia (BARA) since 2004. Last year, Qantas selected Unisys to provide the system for its domestic flights using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to track and verify bags.

Qantas introduced Australia’s first self-service baggage check-in facility as part of the airline’s Next Generation Check-in initiative to streamline and speed up a passenger’s journey through domestic airports using technology such as RFID bag tags, called Q Tags.

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