With the introduction of new Bluetooth tracking technology, Delta will soon become the first U.S. passenger airline to provide, real-time tracking for unit load devices (ULDs).
This move marks a new era for Delta Cargo and the more than 500 million kilograms of cargo it flies annually. The technology will replace manual tracking for all shipping containers, called ULDs, which move cargo shipments, baggage and mail globally.
“Our customers have told us they want improved tracking and immediate transparency for ULD shipments, and this best-in-class product will deliver exactly that,” said Shawn Cole, Delta Vice President — Cargo, “Our innovative tracking technology, in conjunction with our 24/7 cargo control center, gives us the competitive edge when it comes to serving our customers.”
Real-time ULD tracking information will also allow Delta’s cargo control center to more accurately monitor and reroute shipments that are delayed due to irregular operations, like inclement weather.
When implemented, the new tracking system will also enable Delta to produce electronic unit control receipts, which is required by the International Air Transport Association when ULDs are transferred between parties — making Delta the first airline to offer a fully automated solution for customer transactions.
Delta was the first major airline to test Bluetooth tracking technology, beginning in 2016, and has since deployed readers to 23 locations. By the end of 2018, the tracking system will be available on all of Delta’s ULDs, with more than 1,400 readers tracking customer shipments at more than 200 airports across six continents.
The airline’s current GPS-enabled cargo tracking products, including a recently-announced service for highly time-sensitive shipments called Equation Critical, will continue to be available for both narrow body and wide-body aircraft shipments traveling internationally and within the U.S.
Delta recently introduced auto check-in for Fly Delta app users and started testing its biometric boarding pass at DCA and its redesigned E-Gate experience in Atlanta. Over the past year, Delta has led the industry on a number of other innovative customer solutions like biometric-based self-service bag drop, RFID baggage handling, real-time bag tracking via the Fly Delta mobile app, more efficient and high tech automated screening lanes and a groundbreaking flight deck app that helps Delta pilots avoid turbulence for a more comfortable flight. Delta’s partnership with CLEAR already gives exclusive rates to U.S.-based SkyMiles Members for a faster way through security lines at more than 20 airports nationwide.