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Tagsys, ICM Airport Technics Market RFID Bag Tag to Airlines

The tag, based on the one used by Qantas, can not only be used to streamline baggage check-in at airports that have deployed RFID readers, but also display flight data on its built-in electronic-paper screen at non-RFID-equipped facilities.
By Claire Swedberg
Nov 16, 2011Eighteen months after launching its Next Generation Check-In (NGCI) system using radio frequency identification to automate baggage check-in at Perth Airport, Qantas Airways has permanently deployed the solution at all six of its major Australian airport locations, as well as at dozens of smaller regional airports. The system features the airline's Q Bag Tag, which contains an EPC Gen 2 passive RFID inlay and attaches to luggage, thereby enabling self-service RFID-enabled baggage drops to be used at all of its hubs in Australia.

ICM Airport Technics and Tagsys—the two companies that created the technology behind the system—are currently developing a generic version of the RFID-enabled baggage tag, dubbed the Permanent Bag Tag (PBT), that could be used by other airports and airlines worldwide. The new tag could not only be read at airports that have deployed RFID interrogators, but also display passenger and flight data on its built-in electronic-paper screen at those lacking RFID.

At Qantas' self-service baggage drops, passengers follow prompts on a touch screen, and then place their bags on the conveyor belt, which weighs each bag while an RFID reader captures its Q Bag Tag's unique ID.

In July 2010, Qantas Airways went live with the first phase of the NGCI program, at Perth Airport (see Qantas Launches Its Next Generation Check-in System). There are 80 RFID-enabled check-in stations at the six major airports, Tagsys reports, noting that by October of this year, the Qantas automated system had processed more than four million bags, with more than three million Q Bag Tags in circulation. Each Q Bag Tag can be reused for an unlimited number of flights.

The solution also aids baggage handlers, by displaying each bag's destination on a video monitor as the luggage passes an RFID reader, thereby helping to ensure that bags are not misrouted to the wrong airplane.

ICM Airport Technics supplies baggage-handling systems, such as check-in kiosks and X-ray machines. Since July 2010, the firm, together with Tagsys, has equipped all six of Qantas' major Australian airport sites with the two companies' RFID-based self-service bag-drop system.

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