Airlines Lost Your Bags? IATA Implemented a Solution


Baggage handling on airlines has been a challenge, but the situation is getting under control according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Focused on IATA Resolution 753, which requires tracking baggage at acceptance, loading, transfer, and arrival, the survey of 155 airlines and 94 airports reveals that:

•    44% of airlines have fully implemented Resolution 753 and a further 41% are in progress

•    Regional variation in airline full adoption rates varies from 88% in China and North Asia to 60% in the Americas, 40% in Europe and Asia-Pacific, and 27% in Africa 

•    75% of airports surveyed have the capability for Resolution 753 baggage tracking

•    Airport preparedness for Resolution 753 varies by size*: 75% of mega airports are capable, 85% of major airports, 82% of large airports, and 61% of medium airports.

•    Optical barcode scanning is the dominant tracking technology implemented by the majority of airports (73%) surveyed. Tracking using RFID, which is more efficient, is implemented in 27% of surveyed airports. Notably, RFID technology has seen higher adoption rates at mega airports, with 54% already implementing this advanced tracking system.

“Between 2007 and 2022 baggage mishandling reduced by nearly 60%. That is good news.

However, passengers have higher expectations when it comes to their travel experience, and the aviation sector is committed to further enhancing its services. By implementing bag tracking systems at various stages such as acceptance, loading, transfer, and delivery, the industry can gather valuable data for improvement purposes.

This tracking process effectively reduces instances of mishandled bags and enables airlines to swiftly reunite misplaced luggage with their rightful owners.

With 44% of airlines already fully integrating Resolution 753 tracking, and an additional 41% making progress towards implementation, travelers can be even more confident that their bags will be readily available upon arrival, stated Monika Mejstrikova, Director of Ground Operations at IATA.

In 2022, the global rate of mishandled bags was 7.6 per 1,000 passengers, according to SITA. The majority of those bags were returned within 48 hours.

Accelerating Modern Baggage Messaging

IATA Resolution 753 mandates that airlines must share baggage tracking messages with their interline partners and agents, but the existing messaging system relies on outdated technologies that are expensive to maintain. This significant cost hampers the effective implementation of Resolution 753 and exacerbates problems with message accuracy, ultimately leading to an upsurge in mishandled baggage incidents.

IATA is spearheading the industry’s shift from Type B to contemporary baggage messaging using XML standards. The inaugural pilot, aimed at testing modern baggage messaging between airports and airlines, is scheduled for a launch in 2024.

“Adopting modern messaging is the equivalent of implementing a new standard, intelligible language for use by airlines, airports, and ground handling staff so they can effectively communicate about passenger luggage. In addition to helping reduce the number of mishandled bags implementation also sets the stage for ongoing innovations in baggage management systems,” said Mejstrikova.


IATA resolution 753 was adopted in June 2018. In 2024, IATA launched a campaign to assist airlines with the implementation. The campaign focuses on collecting data on the implementation status of airlines and providing support to member airlines to develop and execute their implementation plans. This initiative underscores IATA’s commitment to enhancing operational efficiencies and standards across the industry.

*Airport size classification: 

o    Medium: 5-15 million 
o    Large: 15–25 million
o    Major: 25–40 million
o    Mega: >40 million 


About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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