Qantas adopts RFID for domestic baggage checks

Seeks to reduce domestic check-in times through radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to be placed on frequent flyers' baggage

Australian airline, Qantas (ASX:QAN) has penned a four-year deal with Unisys to provide a Baggage Reconciliation System (BRS) for its Australian domestic flights, to begin on 10 November.

The BRS will use radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to track and verify bags and will be part of the airline’s Next Generation Check-in, a self-service baggage check in facility with the aim to reduce domestic check-in times.

Under the agreement, Unisys will supply systems integration, implementation and rollout services, in addition to application hosting and support for the BRS at its Sydney data centre.

Following its Sydney launch and trials in Perth in July, the Next Generation Check-in system will be progressively introduced in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra next year.

In the initial rollout stage, passengers will be able to print their bag tags, which have an identifying barcode, at a check in booth, before leaving their bags at the bag drop area. From here the bags’ barcodes are scanned to link bags to passengers’ flight information.

Platinum, gold and silver Qantas Frequent Flyer members will receive a chip-enabled "Q Bag Tag" in the leadup to the launch. It will also use RFID technology enabling identification and tracking and will eliminate the need for these passengers to print a new bag tag each time they fly.

Unisys Asia Pacific vice president, global commercial industries, Sue Carter, said an effective BRS system will help improve passenger facilitation by scanning bag tags when passengers check in and reconciling tags with passenger records before they can be loaded onto the aircraft.

“Because the airline has a record of the baggage loading order, it can quickly identify and recover bags if passengers fail to board,” Carter said in a statement.

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