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HKIA to boost baggage handling efficiency with RFID technology
Apr '09
Motorola Inc and partners Avery Dennison RFID and Print-O-Tape, Inc., have been awarded a multi-year contract to supply Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) with up to 70 million radio frequency identification (RFID) enabled IATA standard 21" RFID baggage tracking tags. HKIA was one of the pioneer airports to adopt RFID technology, which greatly enhanced the reliability and efficiency of its baggage handling system.

“To maintain its position as a premier regional and international aviation centre, HKIA is committed to providing our passengers with pleasant, hassle-free services and state-of-the-art facilities. The application of RFID is also another testament to our continuous efforts to achieve service excellence,” said C K Ng, deputy director, airport operations, Airport Authority Hong Kong. “We awarded the contract to Motorola because of the proven track record of reliability, and the outstanding quality of its support.”

Unlike bar code-only tags, which require the scanner to be in the line of sight to read the tag, the EPC Gen2-enabled RFID bag tags can be read at long distances and without direct contact. The RFID system is also more reliable, achieving average read-rates of more than 97 percent, versus 80 percent from a bar code-only system. As a result, RFID tags allow more accurate tracking of baggage through HKIA's baggage system. By empowering timely and accurate checked bag deliveries to the planes, airlines and passengers experience more on-time departures. In addition, the system reduces misdirected bags resulting in improved customer service.

HKIA currently tags passenger bags in multiple locations, including check-in counters in Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, in-town check-in desks in Kowloon Station and Hong Kong Station of Airport Express, and upstream check-in facilities in the Pearl River Delta area. Today, there are more than 70 airlines involved in this program.

HKIA awarded a three-year contract to Motorola, with an option for a fourth year, extending their longstanding relationship. Motorola was instrumental in scoping the original business case, supplying hardware and tags, and implementing the first RFID project at Hong Kong International Airport in 2005. HKIA uses Motorola's XR400 and AR400 fixed RFID readers, Motorola MC9090-G RFID handheld mobile computers, and will now utilize Gen-2 baggage tags supplied by this partnership.

Specific to this baggage tag award, Motorola has teamed with two industry leaders: Avery Dennison RFID for the AD-833 inlay and Print-O-Tape for the baggage tag. The companies plan to continue working together on market development initiatives for the use of RFID in baggage tracking.

Print-O-Tape is a 60 year old, privately held manufacturer of pressure sensitive label products and raw materials located just a few miles north of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Since the adoption and implementation of the Automated Baggage Tag program within the airline and airport authority communities, Print-O-Tape has been the recognized leader in the design, development, manufacture and supply of automated baggage tags.

Motorola Inc

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