Enhancing efficiencies in your airport’s Baggage Handling System(BHS)

The efficiency of an airport’s Baggage Handling System (BHS) has a direct effect on passenger satisfaction and airport punctuality.

If your airport has complex baggage capacity issues, our team has the capability and experience to see the bigger picture; enhancing efficiency, reducing risk. We can identify efficiencies and solve growing challenges across your whole operation – from passengers and baggage to transit vehicles, ground support equipment and flights.

Why is Baggage Handling System efficiency is so important?

Passengers perceive baggage handling as a major contributor to airports and airline quality. With increasing competition, this means continuous pressures to enhance and improve the Baggage Handling System.

Self-service and contactless technology solutions sitting alongside existing systems helped airports adhere to COVID social distancing regulations, keeping passengers safe through the pandemic. This, alongside automation, the need for essential and continuous asset replacement (driven by new security standards such as ECAC Standard 3) and an increase in demand for EBS driven by new technology, has meant that the efficiency of baggage systems and processes has never been more crucial for the success of airports.

Baggage presents a multitude of challenges to airports, investors, operations teams and other stakeholders, and the solutions involve introducing an early baggage drop off point at Check-In, linked-up innovative CUPPS technology, an advanced Early Bag Store (EBS) to sort baggage that may arrive early or late, there are a lot of different strategies we can explore to improve and create efficiencies in your airport’s BHS.

No matter what the size of the airport, the impact on baggage flow and passenger experience means that challenges in BHS must be tackled to maximise efficiency and capacity.

Our experience in Baggage Handling Systems

AiQ Consulting has a deep, historic knowledge of baggage systems and processes.

We have been continually engaged with the second busiest airport in the world, Heathrow Airport, during the last 13 years assisting them with their baggage make up plans, realizing capacity, solving complex challenges and enhancing efficiencies of their baggage flows and systems within all their terminals. This experience led us to work with other airports including Leeds Bradford, Hyderabad, Birmingham, Bristol, Sydney, Saudi Arabia and Southend.

Enhancing efficiencies in Baggage Handling System

One important project with Heathrow Airport was the London Olympics 2012 pop up terminal. We predicted the capacity and usage of the athletes in the run-up to and departing, the Games. As the departing athletes only had a two-day window after the extinguishing of the flame to get home, the airport had to be prepared to deal with 200 extra full tins of bags in the full glare of the media spotlight.

We worked with multiple stakeholders in order to plan, simulate and organise check-in facilities for the athletes and their 7,000 bags. This involved an unusual arrangement that gave the security team time to scan bags, as they arrived before the athletes, negotiating temporary FCS in one of the most space-limited Hub airports in the world, as well as working with Heathrow’s MUP and FCS plans.

We have also worked with many of the world’s constrained and saturated airports to provide efficiencies and realise capacity in their baggage systems. At Sydney Airport, we provided independent, expert knowledge on baggage systems to validate the effect of new technology, such as Early Bag Stores and Bag Drops had on their current system. We produced a comprehensive 3D simulation of their baggage system to substantiate the improvements new technology would make on capacity, flexibility and passenger experience. This allowed the client to fully understand the impact that any changes and improvements on the baggage system would have before making any unnecessary investment costs.

Creating MUP Plans

A Makeup Point (MUP) Plan provides an overview of allocated space to build Unit Load Devices (ULD). This helps to allocate resources and helps understand and manage logistics. It gives airports a better overview of the baggage journey, allowing you to plan ahead and create more efficient airports, both in terms of capacity and cost.

As well as working with Heathrow Airport on their MUP Plans, we have also provided a 2D Baggage System simulation model for GMR Hyderabad with this approach. We analysed baggage flows throughout the system with a simulation undertaken against existing schedules and assumptions to create a calibrated model. From this, we investigated Baggage Make-up demand and capacity plans, Passenger Check-in demand capacity plans, Emigration demand and Screening demand. By informing the airport of new and different processes, we were able to increase efficiency and capacity for the baggage process at GMR Hyderbad through MUP Plans and more.

Secure asset replacement

Asset replacement is an essential and continuous task for airports. For example, recent Hold Baggage Screening (HBS) replacements were driven by new security standards with ECAC Standard 3 requiring much of the existing screening equipment to be replaced. An increase in demand for Early Bags Storage (EBS) may also force the requirement to upgrade for increased efficiency and capacity, as well as adopting new technologies for check-in and baggage systems. This is potentially very intrusive for operations and can bring different challenges. We work with airports to effectively plan for this asset replacement, including capacity assessment of the existing asset process, modelling of the removal of assets and mitigations of what can be done differently during the process. We also present forecasts on potential scenarios on what could go wrong and the ‘what ifs’ involved for the entire airport. This includes identifying potential risks and impacts and helping to formulate plans to mitigate risks of infrastructure, labour and processes.

We have worked within highly space-constrained airports, such as Heathrow, to carry out Asset Replacement projects, including HBS ECAC Standard 3 upgrade, T4 Asset replacement sorter, T5 EBS upgrade and T3 IB check-in.

Integrating baggage into the airport

Our unique experience with baggage processes involves looking at the whole airport holistically. We undertake full airport reviews to understand the full holistic baggage and check-in operational requirements analysis. Such a project for three airports in Saudi Arabia – Prince Abdul Mohsen Bin Abdulaziz International Airport at Yanbu, Prince Nayef Bin Abdulaziz Airport at Qassim and Hail Airport – included the complete end to end departures and arrivals baggage solutions examining check-in desks, kiosks, baggage make-ups points, baggage reclaims and the departure/arrivals area. Our holistic knowledge also helped future proof all three of the airport’s baggage handling systems, developing culturally-aware models and solutions to support predicted Passenger & Baggage demand and capacity requirements and meeting IATA standards.

Why AiQ?

As global experts, we create capacity and operational efficiency by understanding not just the baggage process but how it links with passengers, transit vehicles, ground support equipment and flights. Our strategic alliance with NATS enables us to provide unique kerbside to airspace consulting, modelling, and forecasting to help you solve the most complex capacity challenges. We gain unique insights across your operation, giving the right information at the right level to stakeholders, aiding decision making and facilitating the entire airport to work together to solve issues.

Complex problems and future-proofing airports need a holistic view to fully understand the implications and consequences. This can bring hidden benefits too. Our Kerbside to Airspace End to End Airport Capacity Planning for Bristol Airport, for example, looked at the best sequence of infrastructure investments to achieve timely capacity growth but also gave us opportunities to suggest changes to improve revenue, including increase dwell time in the departure lounge.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of baggage, BHS or holistic end to end airport capacity planning, contact us today