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Aalborg Airport Debuts Baggage-Handling System With High-Memory RFID Tags

All flight-related data is encoded to a bag tag's EPC Gen 2 inlay, enabling the Danish airport to sort luggage without the need for a centralized database.
By Rhea Wessel
Jun 02, 2010Aalborg Airport, located on the northern part of Denmark's Jutland peninsula, has replaced its bar-coding-based baggage-handling system with one that employs radio frequency identification. All information necessary to properly route the bags is saved to high-memory inlays in bag tags complying with the IATA 740c specification. The system officially became operational and was unveiled to the public yesterday.

The airport reports that it decided to employ passive EPC Gen 2 RFID tags with high memory because it wanted to implement the most up-to-date technology possible, and the price difference between high-memory and standard tags was minimal. "We want to be prepared for the future," says Søren Svendsen, Aalborg Airport's CEO.

Aalborg Airport's bag tags contain an EPC Gen 2 RFID inlay with 512 bits of user memory.
Keld A. Christensen led the project for integrator Lyngsoe Systems, a Denmark-based firm specializing in RFID-based baggage-handling systems. According to Christensen, Aalborg calculated that the additional cost of RFID baggage tags compared with bar-code-based baggage tags is 10 U.S. cents, including the 2 cents more that it pays to have tags with 512 bits of user memory, instead of just the standard 96 bits for storing an Electronic Product Code (EPC).

In addition to the so-called tag license plate, the flight number and date and the routing information are all saved on the RFID inlays used by the airport. Once RFID inlays are available with a greater amount of memory, Christensen says, the airport could record additional data onto the tags, such as passenger names.

Aalborg is home to Denmark's third-largest airport, which serves 1.2 million passengers annually and operates 30 flights daily. It estimates that it will require only 250,000 RFID tags per year, however, since many of its passengers travel domestically, without luggage.

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