SITA signs bag management deal with ground handler

Barcelona (SITA) - A worldwide surge in checked-in baggage has led SITA, which tracks baggage on behalf of the world's leading airlines, to forge closer ties with ground-handling companies, it was revealed today at the European Regional Airlines Conference in Barcelona.

Ilya Gutlin, SITA Regional Vice President, said, "We have signed our first ever deal with a ground handler for our baggage reconciliation system and this could be the beginning of a trend as we see a tremendous increase in the quantities of luggage being checked-in following the introduction of more stringent controls on carry-on luggage as a result of the August security alerts in the UK.

"The latest figures from SITA's WorldTracer system which tracks baggage around the world on behalf of 394 airlines and ground-handlers, indicates a 30% rise in the quantities of luggage being checked in over the last month or so. Last year we estimated that three billion pieces of luggage were checked in worldwide.

"Ground handling companies play a vital role in ensuring luggage arrives on the same flight as its owner by supporting efficient baggage reconciliation in airports worldwide hence SITA's interest in working more closely with them."

SITA today announced a new partnership with Northport which will see SITA's BagManager, a state-of-the-art baggage reconciliation system, rolled out across Scandinavia. BagManager is normally deployed in direct agreement with the airport concerned as is the case in over 30 of the world's leading airports.

The seven-year agreement kicks off with an initial installation in Helsinki Airport by the end of January 2007. It will also be installed in 14 Finnish domestic airports. Following this, Northport plans further deployments in Stockholm's Arlanda Airport, Oslo's Gardermoen Airport, and Copenhagen Airport. Northport is also considering introducing BagManager into the Baltic states.

Jari Viitanen, Director, Process Development, Northport, said, "This is a very timely partnership between Northport and SITA as tightening security around carry-on luggage is going to mean a sustained increase in checked-in baggage throughout Europe. It is a priority for us that the baggage reconciliation systems in the airports where we work are the best available in order for us to provide the best possible service to airlines and passengers alike."

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