Las Vegas McCarran airport plans to pioneer the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) chips to track passenger-checked luggage by the end of 2004.

The chips will help locate bags pulled aside for special security searches and track lost luggage.

The airport, which handles about 65,000 items a day, has a $25 million deal with US firm Matrics to supply around 100 million disposable tags to be attached at check-in. Delta Air Lines tested RFID bag-tags at Jacksonville, Florida, over the summer, but the carrier has yet to decide whether to adopt the technology.

With only 8% of its passengers connecting, McCarran has the second highest origin and departing rate in the nation after Los Angeles, making it a prime test ground for the technology.

New tag readers at McCarran will be more accurate than hand-held scanners which depend on a line-of-sight view of the bag's tag.

A separate deal with Logistex, a US unit of FKI, will provide the system architecture and mesh it with the bag-handling equipment.

Source: Airline Business