Baggage Handling Systems (BHS) present a multitude of challenges to airports and their stakeholders. Whether you are a hub airport or not, the impact on baggage flow and passenger experience means that challenges in BHS must be tackled to maximise efficiency and capacity.
Increasing passenger numbers, as well as the passenger’s desire for greater control around baggage and check-in services also means a rise in self-service solutions, such as kiosks and bag-drops, now sitting alongside existing systems. As well as increasing capacity in-line with demand and offering passengers a better experience, they also provide challenges and opportunities for Baggage Handling Systems.
What is a Baggage Handling Process?
A Baggage Handling System can be defined as simply the conveyor that takes luggage from check-in to the designated airplane. However, it undertakes many functions on what can be seen as a very short journey.
As a passenger drops off their bag at check-in, it is conveyed to baggage security screening machines, then sorted according to whether the bags are early, on-time or missed. From here, on time bags are then conveyed to dedicated Make up Points (MUPs) where bags are assembled prior to loading the aircraft. Bags are then loaded to Unit Load Devices (ULD) or carts and driven to aircraft from the baggage hall on tugs.
There are also other issues for BHS to deal with including load balancing, bag tracking and detecting bag jams. Early and missed bags take different journeys depending on the BHS in place.
Why should you improve the Baggage Handling Process?
The efficiency of an airport’s Baggage Handling System has a direct affect on passenger satisfaction and airport punctuality. From having an easy baggage drop off point at Check-In, to having an innovative Early Bag Store to sort luggage that may arrive early or late, there is a lot of different ways to manage BHS that can create a more effective system.
Improving the efficiency of Check-In is a significant part of BHS. Introducing new technologies at Check-In can improve passenger experience and reduce capacity issues, increasing time spent at retail and F&B outlets.
How can you improve the Baggage Handling Process?
AiQ have been working with airports worldwide for many years to help them realise the efficiencies that are created by improving their BHS. This can include baggage management initiatives and new technologies such as Auto baggage build, using automated or semi-automated manual handling devices such as robots to build ULDs ready for the aircraft, and Early Bag Store (EBS), a facility that manages and sorts bags.
New efficient technologies are also a benefit at check in, including Auto Check-in, self-service options allowing passengers to check in at their own convenience and Online Check-in, which enables passengers to check-in prior to arrival at the airport. These are becoming more and more common in airports, but knowing their impact on BHS and how to fully utilize the new technologies for great efficiency and improved passenger experience is at the core of our work with airports.