Mishandling of luggage soars as air travel rebounds, study shows

PARIS – The rate of lost, damaged or delayed luggage nearly doubled in 2022 as air travel rebounded and the sector faced staff shortages following the Covid-19 pandemic, a study found on Tuesday.

The report by Sita, an IT provider for the air transport industry, said 7.6 bags per thousand passengers were mishandled in 2022, up from 4.35 the previous year.

The surge follows more than a decade of reduction in the rate of mishandled luggage, according to Sita.

In total, 26 million bags were mishandled in 2022, compared with 9.9 million in 2021, as the number of travellers neared pre-Covid-19 levels, according to Sita.

“After a decade where the mishandling rate more than halved between 2007 and 2021, it is disheartening to see this rate climbing again,” said Sita chief executive David Lavorel.

“As an industry, we need to work hard to ensure passengers are once again confident to check in their bags.”

Passenger air traffic soared to 3.42 billion in 2022, but airports and airlines had fewer staff to handle the surge, after laying off thousands when the pandemic brought the sector to its knees.

Air traffic had reached 4.5 billion in 2019, with a baggage mishandling rate of 5.6 bags per thousand passengers.

Sita used data from its luggage tracking software used in 2,400 airports for the study. AFP

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