Acsa says it worked tirelessly over the Christmas period to reunite passengers with luggage

OR Tambo International Airport Johannesburg. Picture: Karen Sandison

OR Tambo International Airport Johannesburg. Picture: Karen Sandison

Published Dec 29, 2023


Travellers can breathe a sigh of relief after Airport Company South Africa (Acsa) revealed that baggage issues have been resolved at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

According to the company responsible for the management of South Africa’s airports, the technical glitch affecting its baggage sortation system occurred on the morning of December 22 and saw several passengers’ luggage left behind when some aircraft departed from the airport without all baggage on board.

As a result of luggage issues, several flights were delayed at the airport to allow for the luggage to be loaded, while Acsa also made arrangements with respective airlines to enable affected passengers bags to reach their owners timeously.

“The technical issue that affected the baggage sorter was not the result of wear and tear or a lack of maintenance but rather due to an incident that lead to the physical breakage of an electromechanical sensor,” said Acsa.

The company also revealed that out of 77 569 bags processed at the airport on December 22 and 23, 31 118 were domestic and regional and of these close to 4 500 were short shipped.

“This translates into 19% of domestic and 13% of regional bags being short shipped over the two days,” said Acsa.

Acsa also said that it has fewer than 80 bags in its network from the original 4 500 bags that need reunification with owners, many of whom have indicated that they will fetch them at the destination airports.

The airports management company said that at a network level, once bags were sent to the destination airports, it mobilised additional vehicles and drivers to work with FlySafair, Cemair, Lift and Airlink and the airlines’ baggage delivery services to physically deliver bags to passengers.

“This work was done from early morning into the late hours of the evening over three days including Christmas,” said Acsa.

“Acsa would like to apologise for the significant disruption to these customers over the Christmas period and also wants to assure the public that its taken all possible steps to work with airlines and other stakeholders to resolve the issue,” it said.