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Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) in Airline Operations and Maintenance

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Article Information
Category: Airworthiness Airworthiness
Content source: SKYbrary About SKYbrary
Publication Authority: SKYbrary SKYbrary


Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is automatic identification technology to come into broad acceptance across multiple industries, including aviation. It brings benefits beyond bar code technology. Where bar codes need light to transmit and receive data, RFID uses radio waves to transfer data to/from RFID tag.

How it Works

The specific function of these radio waves is that they go through, around, in, under, and behind objects to reach a tag. The technology can also see hundreds of tags per second, so it appears to gather data instantaneously. That enables an entirely new set of opportunities for the airline. Examples are, in quickly determining if every airplane seat has its life vest hidden underneath, or if security has been breached on any life vest boxes. Other examples include, reading if any oxygen generator that is still closed up in the Passenger Service Unit will expire in the next month, or if all the medical kits are still sealed.

The handheld portable RFID readers usually come with the capability to read bar codes as well as RFID tags. This is extremely useful to use both technologies in conjunction with each other.

[[File:RFID tag.jpg|thumb|none|500px|RFID Tag (Source: Guidance on Introducing RFID, IATA May 2013)]