Airport operator tests RFID for mystery application

The UK's main airport operator BAA says smart tags could bring "disruptive" benefits.

Airport operator BAA is experimenting with RFID, a technology which it says could create a "step-change" in the way it does business.

BAA clearly has big hopes for the smart chip technology, as its group IT director Richard Rundle told that RFID has the potential to "make a real disruption in the way we think about our business". The company has been trialing RFID for the past six months but would not say exactly which application the technology is being used for.

However Rundle said: "It is a technology which is embryonic but has all the hallmarks of being one of those disruptive technologies which creates a step change in the way we think and operate.

"We are researching the area quite a lot. We are learning as we are going."

Much interest has focused on the use of RFID tags to replace barcodes on luggage but it is likely that global standards would have to be in place before the technology was widely adopted by airlines.

Ditching bar-coded bag tags for RFID could slash the annual $1bn bill for lost passenger baggage, airline industry IT body SITA said earlier this year.

In other areas such as asset tracking of machinery inside an airport, global standards are unnecessary.

Rundle said: "It gives us the prospect of being able to monitor the condition of our assets. For a big asset company like ours it could be quite significant."'s Steve Ranger reported from London.


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