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Top marks for Lufthansa’s baggage handling

14th January 2010 Print

Lufthansa and Frankfurt Airport have been voted top of the class in terms of passenger baggage handling.

This achievement is recognised in the “2009 BIP Best Airport Award” made by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which regularly examines the baggage handling performance of the world’s major international airports as part of its Baggage Improvement Program (BIP).

The industry accolade underscores the wide-ranging efforts undertaken jointly by Lufthansa and the airport operator Fraport in this area. Lufthansa passengers have benefited especially from the optimised baggage handling processes at the airport.

The IATA inspectors were particularly impressed by achievements in the transfer of time-critical baggage for passengers in transit, who account for a good 70 per cent of Lufthansa’s passenger volume at Frankfurt, its largest hub.

On the basis of up-to-the-minute flight data and the passenger’s itinerary, Lufthansa identifies very short transfer times due, for example, to delays caused by bad weather or congested airspace. Baggage items belonging to affected passengers are then not fed into the baggage conveyor system as normal but are collected direct from the incoming flight by staff, who then take them by car to the connecting flight.

Up to 1,500 bags per day and their owners thus make their connection in time. On the one hand, that means up to 1,500 more satisfied customers. On the other hand, by avoiding the expense of returning misdirected baggage to passengers, Lufthansa saves annual costs in the double-digit million range.

The constant improvements in baggage handling are paying off in other areas, too. The number of items of baggage that temporarily go astray at Frankfurt Airport has been reduced by more than 40 per cent since 2007. The Left Behind Index (LBI), in other words the mishandled baggage rate, currently stands at 1.3 per cent and is thus significantly lower than at other comparable major airports in Europe such as Paris or Madrid. Lufthansa tracks down almost all temporarily lost baggage within a day or two and delivers it to the address of the passenger’s choice, free of charge.

The inspections conducted by IATA as part of the “BIP Best Airport Awards” are highly detailed. In all, 150 individual points in 22 core baggage transfer processes come under the microscope.