(South Africa): Securoseal - Product foils baggage thieves

Product foils baggage thieves

SAA, ACSA IN BID TO REDUCE PILFERAGE AHEAD OF WORLD CUP

Jan 5, 2010 10:29 PM | By AMUKELANI CHAUKE

South African Airways and the Airports Company of South Africa are testing a new product to curb rampant theft from passengers' baggage at the country's airports.

SAFE AND SOUND: The Airports Company SA is cutting down on human contact in baggage-handling at airports in South Africa to reduce theft. The product, designed to detect and combat luggage pilferage, has been tested since mid-December on selected flights. The testing will continue until Saturday. SAA has put up notices at luggage weighing points asking passengers to participate in the test. Acsa spokeswoman Nicky Knapp confirmed the company had contracted Securo Seal Africa to help stop baggage theft. The product consists of a strap and a cable tie. The strap is tied around the bag and the attached cable tie is tied to the zip. A receipt with a barcode matching those of the strap and cable tie is given to the passenger, who then checks the barcode with those on the strap after the flight. Securoseal marketing director Tariq Issel said the strap and cable ties don't allow zips - which thieves breach using pens - to be resealed by moving the zip back and forth across the opening to seal the luggage after the contents have been stolen. Passengers are able to see at the airport if their luggage has been broken into and can file a report immediately. Knapp said, however, that baggage pilferage had decreased in recent months, and that Acsa was operating below the global benchmark of one bag pilfered per 1000. Issel would not reveal how much the product would cost Acsa and SAA should it be introduced on flights. The product is not for sale to passengers and, if approved, will only be sold to Acsa and airlines. Though Issel could not confirm if the new seals were doing their job, The Times understands that they have almost halved baggage theft on the flights on which they have been introduced. The test project comes after Acsa appointed baggage handler Swissport in 2008 to reduce pilferage after it reportedly spent R500000 a month on theft claims. Swissport took over after Acsa cancelled its contract with baggage handler Menzies Aviation. SAA loses millions of rands every year on baggage-theft claims. Last September, the parliamentary portfolio committee on transport voiced its frustration at the prevalence of baggage pilfering at Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport, especially during the British & Irish Lions rugby tour to South Africa last year.