Image Source: Sweett Group

London Heathrow T3 Baggage System

The Challenge

T3 Integrated Baggage Facility (T3IB) at London Heathrow is the first of its kind in the UK where hold baggage is built using automation, along with conventional methods.

Working on behalf of HAL as operational capacity planners, AiQ planned and managed transitioning of all airlines and ground handlers based in the old baggage hall into this new state of the art facility over a 12 month period. This involved working collaboratively and managing a rich portfolio of stakeholders including, but not limited to, MACE, Vanderlande, Babcock, JACOBS and Aviation Business Continuity.

There was a significant challenge in moving 18 airlines with over 100 flights a day, mainly long haul, into the newly developed integrated baggage system. The new facility meant handlers and operators had to adapt to new ways of working, stepping away from traditional conventional baggage building to new compressed baggage building. As well as allocating flights and handlers in dedicated parts of the hall whilst protecting the ‘Live Operation’, planning also had to take place to build flights using semi and full automation within the new automation facility.

As the airline moves were transitioned over a 12 months period, the issue of seasonal planning (winter and summer) also had to be addressed. Airline schedules can change significantly, which impacts on the assets required for both the airline and ground handler.

The Solution

Using AiQ’s bespoke simulation tool, TransvisionAiR™, each flight in the terminal was planned and allocated to a new position for live rehearsals, and the final move upon a successful completion of rehearsals. The tool was then further developed to enable the semi and full automation allocation planning to enable the Integrated Baggage System for all airlines.

Our sound operational experience and knowledge coupled with stakeholder management expertise, enabled AiQ to manage the allocation of individual ground handlers to dedicated parts of the baggage hall, whilst maintaining all handler flights within confined areas of operation.

Our team also developed a Standard Operating Procedures document from a planning allocation point of view, enabling the future seasonal and development planning of the Terminal to be carried out without potential conflicts over asset utilisation.

The Benefit

Under AiQ’s management, all airlines and ground handlers moved out of the old baggage hall, and into the new facility successfully. Transitioning the airlines and flights over a 12 month period enabled HAL and associated stakeholders to identify the key challenges and issues at every stage. This enabled them to be rectified before progressing further.

This modern, unique facility has provided airlines and ground handlers with latest baggage handling system technology. Increasing capacity and flexibility, the use of automation will improve efficiency throughout the terminal.

  • Increased capacity and flexibility using new baggage technology
  • Efficient stakeholder management
  • Resource utilisation increased
  • Improved passenger customer service and airport experience
  • Integrated technology
  • Expert baggage systems knowledge

Image Source: Sweett Group  (