Improving baggage handling operations is paramount to ensuring that the industry is ready to cope with the doubling in passenger demand over the next two decades and meeting the evolving needs of passengers for real time baggage information.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) for baggage tracking provides the data that allows airlines to efficiently track the bag through all airport processes.

With IATA's Resolution 753 now in effect, airlines have started to implement baggage tracking. IATA recommends the use of the RFID technology, which is much more effective that the bar code technology mostly in use currently.

The IATA standard for RFID ensures that all baggage can be easily identified thanks to the unique identifier provided by RFID. RFID also meets passenger expectations for real time tracking of baggage.

RFID in the aviation industry

RFID uses radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data that uniquely identifies each bag. In addition, RFID does not require line of sight to the bag, and so can identify many bags at once.

The most common type of RFID used in the aviation industry is passive Class 1 Gen 2 Ultra High Frequency (UHF). This type of RFID only sends information when it is in range of a reader, and emits a very low energy signal. When not in range of a reader the tag is absolutely passive and sends no information at all. This means that when tracking bags throughout airport processes it is impossible to interfere with any aircraft systems.

The RFID implementation guide, developed by the Baggage Working Group is designed for airlines, airports and any other parties interested in implementing RFID. This guide helps you review the different implementation options and approaches to help you analyze what would be best suited to your baggage operations.

RFID implementation guide content overview

  • Introduction of the basics of RFID including hardware, use cases, level of encoding, data, implementation options and performance testing recommendations
  • Overview of IATA Recommended Practice RP1740c on RFID specifications for Interline Baggage
  • Benefits of RFID for different sizes of airline network and airports around the world
  • Case studies providing examples on how airlines and airports have addressed RFID implementations

Download the IATA RFID Implementation Guide by completing the form below.

The IATA Recommended Practice 1740c on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Specifications for Interline Baggage is one of the baggage standards for interlining purposes that are approved by the IATA Passenger Standards Conference. The baggage standards are available in the IATA Passenger Services Conference Resolutions Manual.

RP 1740c reflects the latest developments in baggage technology and includes a set of tests to ensure a global standard of performance worldwide.

It also enables:

  • Ease of deployment allowing:
    • Seamless integration with current barcode technology
    • Deployment at your own pace with the possibility to add capabilities over time
  • Operational flexibility depending upon the type of tag being used and the needs of airlines
    • Singe use versus reusable RFID tags
    • Fixed versus mobile readers
    • Different types of RFID usage

It is highly recommended for industry stakeholders to get familiar with the content of Recommended Practice 1740c to ensure the ability of RFID to be used in the interline baggage handling environment.

Throughout 2019, IATA will be conducting a series of 4 webinars aiming to give high level information regarding RFID, baggage XML messaging and latest trends related to End to End baggage. Each webinar will cover different topics.

On-demand webinars

  • IATA prioritises RFID for baggage tracking across the industry

Introduction to the IATA RFID priority, including RFID benefits, the IATA RFID roadmap and the IATA standard for RFID.
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  • Implementing RFID in baggage operations

Participants are given some practical tools and resources to explore using RFID as a tracking solution and the opportunity to learn from what others in the industry are doing.
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  • Modern baggage messaging standards

This webinar covered the basics of baggage XML messaging and highlighted some implementations.
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  • RFID and modern baggage messaging: where we are and what's next

This webinar summarized the latest developments and provided an overview of where the industry is heading in the implementation of RFID and baggage XML.
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For more information, please contact us.


​IATA developed an industry business case in December 2018 anticipating savings through reduced mishandling and operational efficiency improvements, as well as a lower cost of implementation for baggage tracking when compared to barcode infrastructure or manual baggage scanning.

The business case presents the aviation industry with an opportunity to use RFID technology and baggage XML message to meet passengers’ expectations as air travel continues to soar.

IATA End to End baggage business case content overview:

  • Overview of existing challenges and the need to track bags
  • Insight into the willingness of airports to embrace innovation and new technologies that reduce rates of mishandling of bags
  • Preferred solutions for the next steps of end-to-end bag tracking including RFID and baggage XML messaging
  • Industry cost benefit analysis and roll out for both RFID and baggage XML messaging

Download the IATA business case on End to End baggage by completing the form below.