South Africa’s OR Tambo International Airport will no longer accept soft, irregular shaped bags; round bags straps. The new rules went into effect earlier this year and are designed to prevent blockages and breakdowns in the baggage handling system, according to an announcement from Airports Company South Africa, the company that operates OR Tambo and eight other South African airports.
According to Kris Reddy, Assistant General Manger of Operation Services, the small percentage of irregular bags (such as duffels and bags with long straps) received at OR Tambo cause the majority of baggage handling system breakdowns. “We have investigated this matter over about a year and considered a variety of alternatives. It is our view, and the airlines and other stake holders now agree, that changing rules for irregular bags will improve the overall level of service to all passengers,” he said.
Any bags that do not have a flat surface of any kind are the largest source of jams in the baggage handling system, according to Reddy. Shutdowns caused by these jams can delay baggage delivery to aircraft, inconveniencing passengers and airlines.
Only regular-shaped bags will be allowed at check-in going forward. That means that bags must have at least one rigid,at surface to be accepted as a checked bag. Passengers arriving with a round or soft irregular shaped bag will need to have it wrapped at an approved baggage wrapping station where they straps on bags will not be accepted either and should be removed before check in. The new rules apply to all bags going to and from OR Tambo International Airport.
SCI members taking SCIF Blue Bags or other irregular shaped bags should take appropriate steps to ensure their luggage is not rejected, or their check-in delayed. Baggage policies like these also have been adopted at other airports, including Dubai International Airport, through which hunters are transiting more regularly.