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ACSA and stakeholders to improve baggage management
Friday, November 18, 2011 | 00:00

Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), today announced key elements that are being implemented to ensure improved overall baggage management, in particular baggage security.

“The essential ingredient in improving baggage operations and security is closer collaboration with all the different role players, better leveraging of available real-time bag tracking technology, improved processing of bags that are being transferred on to other destinations and broader training of baggage handling personnel,” said Tebogo Mekgoe, Assistant General Manager for Airport Operations at O.R. Tambo International.

Mekgoe was speaking ahead of a tour by journalists of the airport’s baggage handling facilities.

He emphasised the importance of understanding the baggage handling processes and systems as these are complex and involve different stakeholders with various responsibilities. “By way of example, O.R. Tambo International handles about 27 000 outbound bags a day. We have very sophisticated equipment, highly trained personnel and are improving co-operation with stakeholders. That is why, over the past two years, we have seen a decline in terms of mishandled bags from 18 per 1000 departing passengers in January 2010 passengers to 10,4 per 1000 departing passengers currently,” he added.

A mishandled bag is a report of a delayed, damaged and or pilfered bag, which is recorded by either an airline or its handling company on behalf of the passenger and which is handled as a claim.

The global average for mishandled bags is 12 per 1000 passengers. The International Air Transportation Association (AITA) has set a target for all stakeholders globally to reduce this to 4 mishandled bags be 1000.

“There is a lot to be done before the industry can get to this ideal picture. ACSA and its stakeholders are fortunate because we are facing a declining trend and we will intensify our efforts to ensure that the trend continues,” Mekgoe explained.

As it relates specifically to baggage pilferage, on average, the number of reported pilfered bags has improved from 174 bags per month in 2010 to 111 per month this year. The airport processes approximately 700 000 outbound bags per month.

With the festive season about to start, a period associated with increased number of bags per passenger, ACSA and its stakeholders will continue with measures aimed at improving baggage security. However, passengers should also heed the following guidance:

  • Lock your baggage and secure it properly as loose straps may catch in the conveyor belts;
  • If possible, use plastic shrink-wrap service and ensure you attach identification tags;
  • Do not place valuable items such as electronics and jewellery into checked-in baggage;

For more information, contact:

Solomon Makgale (082 781 8863)

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