Sep 25, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Staff layoffs blamed for air cargo mishandling

Airlines and airports are seeing a rise in mishandled bags despite borders reopening and air travel continuing to recover after a two-year disruption caused by Covid-19. The increase is attributed firstly to the downsizing that has left airlines, handling agencies and airports operating with a meager workforce and secondly to the lack of digital alternatives at many airports around the world.

About 9, 9 million pieces of baggage were either lost or misdirected in 2021, as passenger numbers rose to 2.28 billion, according to the 2022 Baggage Insights report by aviation industry IT and communications systems provider SITA. That equates to a 24% increase in lost and mishandled baggage cases compared to 2021, or a loss of 4.35 bags per 1,000 passengers.

“Airlines, ground handlers and airports have all scaled down in size and making do with less to maintain viability during the pandemic. However, this has resulted in a lack of resources and expertise for baggage management and, if left unaddressed, can lead to much higher baggage mishandling rates than in pre-pandemic times,” says David Lavorel, CEO of SITA.

< p>Bag loss was still 77 percent below the record set in 2007, when 46.9 million bags were mishandled out of 2.46 billion passengers. But there are fears that without intervention the numbers could easily exceed the 25.4 million bags mishandled in 2019, when a whopping 4.54 billion people chose air travel has prompted a growing number of airlines and airports to adopt digital solutions , although Africa is still lagging behind.

Ninety percent of airlines and three-quarters of airports plan to roll out hands-free self-bag drop kiosks and passenger mobile devices by 2024.