A Thursday in December, Kim Abildgaard had the pleasure to share a lunch with Karsten Madsen, Head of Baggage Automation & Technology at Copenhagen Airport. The occasion was that Karsten had won the drawing of the headphones from our newsletter sign-up competition, and we had the pleasure to hand-over the gift – thanks to all of you who participated.
At the same time we had a conversation about RIFD and Copenhagen Airports thoughts about this. We are happy to get the opportunity to present a statement from someone who has not yet bought into the Radio Frequent Identification (RFID) technology in baggage handling and tracking.
At Copenhagen Airport, RFID technology is not yet in baggage operation, but it is not a question of if it will. Karsten Madsen tells that in any new baggage project, RFID will be part of the specification of requirements. Frankly, it is not a decision driven by themselves alone, as they need other airports to send baggage with RFID tags as well. So, when Copenhagen Airport sees RFID technology in action is uncertain, it will happen but it also depends on other airports adopting the technology so that inbound and outbound passenger baggage can be tracked.
Now Copenhagen Airport is doing well in reading rates on outgoing barcode scanning but will expect even better read-rates with RFID. In the baggage claim, there is room for improvement today, as manual identification is not possible. Karsten Madsen expects RFID to be able to improve this process significant with automatic identification of the baggage. Still, the real improvement is that RFID readers have a low cost so that it will be inexpensive to ad reading points in the current baggage system.
It is reported and forecast that over the next decade airports will face a significant increase in passenger numbers. This will require airports to become more efficient in data capture and to modify existing processes to manage higher capacity baggage handling and maintain high baggage read rates throughout the entire baggage handling journey.
As the demand for automation and machine learning increases so will the requirement to have a consistent volume of high-quality accurate data. RFID data capture solutions will support this evolving demand.
Back to the present, Karsten Madsen sees a possibility to fulfil passenger expectations to obtain real-time tracking information about their baggage during their travel. In combination with automatic reading at the baggage claim area, the overall passenger experience improves.
The conclusion is that Copenhagen Airport has a clear and defined future need for RFID technology but has not yet put it in action and they are keeping a close eye on the industry adoption.