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Baggage Track and Trace for airlines and airports

Passengers can be reunited more quickly with bags that have been mishandled Reduced compensation payments for mishandled bags Fewer misloading errors Improved customer satisfaction Works with existing systems Growing passenger numbers, tight turnaround times, contract pressure for cost reduction and tough new security regulations make it a major challenge to keep track of baggage. Many airlines are facing increasing costs arising from compensation claims for missing bags. Inefficient baggage handling systems leave passengers and airlines dissatisfied. Passengers expect airline check-in and transfer processes to be fast, efficient and hassle-free. Well handled baggage is a key factor in creating a positive experience for passengers. For an airport, improved baggage handling control helps the airport to optimise baggage planning and execution, which can help to attract more business. Developed for one of the worlds largest airlines with eight years of operational experience, the IBM Baggage Track and Trace (BTT) solution is designed for airports or airlines that need to improve management of baggage tracking and reconciliation. Because it is based on existing assets, it can be delivered more quickly and at lower cost than a custom approach. BTT provides airport and/or airline staff with information to identify the path and location of a bag. This helps them to reunite the bag with the passenger more effectively, minimising the impact of mishandled baggage and ultimately reducing operational costs. The system links the delivery of a bag with customer details. This enables agents to provide a more efficient and proactive level of service. It provides both real time and postevent baggage event information to agents world-wide, including the time and place of registration, details of when a bag passes into or out of an airport and any reflighting information. In addition, BTT provides: Layered security options with access determined by a users role In-depth reporting Each baggage record includes the weight of the bag, which helps the airline or handling agent to manage compensation claims Manifest details of where bags are within the aircraft hold, which speeds up the process of offloading baggage from missing passengers before flight An audit trail of all baggage from check-in to final delivery. BTT uses industry standard messaging and links with SITAs WorldTracer automated service for lost and mishandled baggage. IBM can provide additional functionality to meet the specific requirements of an individual airline or airport.

Mishandled bags: A growing problem

The Association of European Airlines (AEA) reports that the number of mishandled bags went up by 14.6% to 15.7 per thousand between 2004 and 2006. That works out at over 5.6 million mishandled bags per year. And these figures relate only to the 24 AEA airlines that file reports. In the United States, the rate of baggage complaints has been rising steadily since 2002. That year, the US Department of Transportation registered 3.84 mishandled bags per thousand passengers enplaned, a number which grew to 6.73 in 2006 representing a combined increase over the four years of 75%, equating to an extra 2.3 million mishandled bags per year.

IBMs Baggage Track and Trace solution is integrated with existing airline and airport systems, including SITA WorldTracer

Future direction
In the next release BTT will become a fully fledged Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) component that exposes a set of basic and composite business services for consumption across the entire enterprise (see diagram below). The system design will remain centred on the BTT database but with business rules and business services implemented completely independently of the database. This means that the BTT system will not be locked into infrastructure such as database, operating system and hardware, providing easy system portability and high flexibility. However, the SOA design will be equally easy to deploy and integrate in a non-SOA environment.

How does SOA help?

Service Oriented Architecture is a new approach to building IT systems that allows businesses to use existing assets and enable inevitable changes required to support the business. Loose coupling of business services provides flexibility and a high degree of reusability across whole of enterprise. Business process management (BPM) enabled by SOA helps businesses plan, design, model, simulate, measure and optimize core business processes to achieve maximum operational effectiveness. Business services can be easily and quickly combined into solutions, drastically shortening time to market. SOA allows businesses to make business decisions supported by technology, rather than being determined or restricted by technology.

IBMs vision for future airport architecture takes a services based approach
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IBMs Aviation Solutions Group

IBMs Aviation Solutions Group delivers solutions for aviation industry clients in the UK, Europe and internationally, from its base in Farnborough, UK. The group offers expertise in airport operations, resource planning and scheduling, baggage tracking, self-service, process improvement and systems integration, including moving to a Service Oriented Architecture and implementing Enterprise Service Buses. Our approach is to drive business value for our clients by focusing on the needs of their customers and users.

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