A two-phase project at Dublin Airport has seen a dramatic reduction in passenger check-in times with the introduction of Rockwell Collins’ ARINC vMUSE, self-service kiosks and the latest bag drop solutions.
Frances O’Brien, VP PMO at DAA (Dublin Airport Authority), spearheaded a campaign to streamline airport operations to address the challenges she recognised within the airport. Speaking about the implementation of CUPPS by Rockwell Collins in 2015/16, she said, ‘We worked with Rockwell Collins to implement systems that enable our airlines to share workstations, helping us make the best use of our current resources. As we embarked on this new initiative, our existing relationship plus Rockwell Collins’ extensive industry expertise made them the right partner for us.’
The first phase of the project began in December 2015, with the introduction of 19 Common-Use workstations. This quickly expanded to 64 units through spring 2016 with no issues, described by O’Brien as ‘a painless process.’
The self-service bag drop stations now number 20 in Ryanair’s hub, Terminal 1, and 16 in the Aer Lingus check-in area in Terminal 2. Jim Rogers, the Aer Lingus bag tag and drop off project manager said, ‘Some of our guests have told us that this technology is a key differentiator on whether they would fly with Aer Lingus again. Our fleet size is increasing by about 10 percent this year, and this type of technology allows us to increase throughput without capital expenditure on building and facilities.’
It has been announced that Abu Dhabi International is to upgrade the airport baggage handling system as a part of its initiative to expand passenger capacity.
A new baggage conveyor will be installed and infrastructure will be improved in order to handle an expected increase in passenger numbers over the next few years.
Siemens have been selected to install the new baggage handling system by the Abu Dhabi Airports commission and work is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2016.
Other providers of airport baggage handling systems across the world look to the latest technology to expand airports capacity, including the latest self-service check-in and bag drop desks from Rockwell Collins.
Many passengers dread the security screening process in airports. Although most of us are not carrying prohibited items, that feeling of being screened give us a sense of guilt anyway.
Baggage handling systems in airports have inevitably improved in the past five years and screening using the latest technology has undoubtedly speeded up the entire check-in process. Systems such as ExpressDrop have given passengers greater control of their journey times using self-service kiosks and bag drop desks to have baggage weighed, measured and tagged before leaving the terminal to continue through the screening process.
Some of the world’s top security experts have said that the greatest threats to airport security can come from inside the terminal, with personnel having greater access to vulnerable areas. It is thought that the Metrojet incident was likely caused by the placement of a bomb by a baggage handler, which begs the question are these self-service, automated systems going to improve security by effectively reducing the amount of handling baggage goes through by ‘real’ hands?
Undoubtedly, airport security screening must step up to look as closely at the airport staff as it does at the passengers, particularly now, as the entire world feels vulnerable to attack.
A recent report from SITA has highlighted that the rate of baggage mishandling has reduced by more than 60% on a global scale in the last eight years saving the sector an estimated $18 billion since 2007.
The sharp decline in mishandling is in spite of the increase in passenger numbers and the improvements are due to the rise in investment by airlines and airports across the world in enhanced baggage handling systems.
Over the past few years airport improvements to the passenger processing system, particularly in self-service bag drop and check-in technology has risen dramatically, and has been almost at the top of the priority list for spending.
Optimising the check-in process means reduced queues, increased passenger experience and a streamlining of airport systems.
The biggest baggage handling systems providers offer baggage self-tagging, multiple airline bag drop facilities and even off-site check-in capabilities. The days of two-hour pre check-in and long queues at peak times are behind many of the world’s major airports and passengers are noticing the difference.
Cost savings are clearly a huge benefit for airports and airlines, and open up the possibilities for more future investment.
A £1 billion investment plan has been announced for Gatwick Airport as it marks its five-year milestone of independent ownership.
The airport has seen improvements to its South Terminal and the next investment plans are for the North Terminal, where £36 million will be spent on a brand new check-in area, featuring what is hailed to be the world’s largest self-service bag drop zone. 60 bag drop units will be expected to virtually eliminate queueing and will free up valuable terminal space while helping airlines with cost-sharing opportunities in a multi-airline bag drop facility.
A new security area will benefit from £30 million and is expected to open in 2016. Gatwick anticipate that the streamlined process of passenger screening will enable them to handle 5,000 passengers per hour with new features such as reconfigured lanes and floor wayfinding; systems that have been rigorously tested during the ‘Generation 2’ trials.
Queues are also expected to be reduced by the introduction of 15 new e-gates, effectively speeding up the passenger processing system and greatly enhancing the experience for travellers.
Stewart Wingate, CEO at London Gatwick is delighted with the new plans and said, “It’s been an incredible five years and this is just the start. Gatwick is changing for the better and the fresh £1 billion investment is a clear signal that we intend to become London’s airport of choice.”
Palm Beach Airport baggage handling system is 25 years old and needs to be upgraded. According to airport officials, it is growing increasingly difficult to keep up with maintenance issues with the 10-year old explosive detection system.
To ensure enhanced safety is in place for the monitoring and handling of airport baggage, the system must undergo a complete modernisation program and Jerry Allen, deputy director of Palm Beach Country’s airports department, know what he wants, following research that has been ongoing for almost 10 years. “We have had this baggage system for 25 years, and things change in our industry,” said Allen, “What this is going to do is allow us to drop a bag off at any gate and still get it to the appropriate airline.”
Airports across the world are embracing the latest technological advancements in baggage handling systems. With biometric scanning and electronic tagging and tracking, sophisticated, modern systems involve almost no human intervention to operate to maximum efficiency, which gives airport personnel a greater flexibility. Mr Allen said “It operates more efficiently, so those employees can be doing other things.”
To pay for the new automated system, the airport plans to use $32.4 million in federal and state grants, leaving $9.6 million to be realised from passenger facility charges at $4.50 per passenger.
Officials from the airport sought permission from the county to spend the $42 million earlier this week and are awaiting an outcome.
Rumours are circulating that the aviation arm of John Menzies, the newspaper and magazine distributor, could take over from baggage handlers Swissport at Gatwick Airport if a repeat of last months’ baggage fiasco occurs.
The airport was forced to apologise to hundreds of passengers who were told to go home empty-handed because of what was later described as a ‘failure to meet service levels’ by Swissport.
Following the debacle, Monarch Airlines cancelled two Swissport contracts at Gatwick and Manchester, while International Consolidated Airlines said it will ‘look at other opportunities’ should the delays continue.
John Menzies provides cargo and passenger ground-handling services, including ticketing, check-in, baggage reclamation and passenger lounge facilities, which makes up two-thirds of its current aviation business revenue. There is no doubt that share prices would make a dramatic increase should they take over from Swissport as Gatwick and Manchester airports baggage handlers.
It has been revealed that Guam Airport will receive a new $26million automated baggage handling system that will greatly enhance the experience for passengers travelling through the airport and free up valuable terminal space. The system is looking at a completion date of 2016.
The announcement was made at a presentation on Thursday, attended by officials and key airport stakeholders. Funded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the high priority project due to the current use of TSA baggage screening pods were installed and operated within the ticketing lobby, causing delays and congestion. The grant has been secured during a justifiable case for the optimisation of the TSA screening system.
“The Airport is one of Guam’s most critical facilities. It’s the first place our visitors see and it’s the last place we have to leave a lasting impression with them. Safety, reliability and efficiency have got to be our top priorities and I’m proud of the work our Airport family is making,” said Governor Eddie Baza Calvo. “This new system is further proof that our federal partners have faith in our ability to move these projects forward and the credibility to be transparent with critical federal funds. All of the GovGuam family is committed to fixing problems of the past and making sure there is room to grow in the future. This is the kind of progress Guamanians deserve.”
To upgrade and replace the system, it is expected to take approximately 22 months. The new system will speed up operations with the latest automated baggage handling system processing up to 680 per hour, per machine, opposed to an average of 200 bags per hour using the current, outdated model.
New research has revealed that commercial airport baggage handling systems market could be worth as much as $37.86billion by 2020. The research, titled ‘Commercial Airport Baggage Handling Systems Market by Sorting Systems’ provides in-depth analysis into the current size of the industry and examines growth prospects during the forecast time period.
There are also highlights of growth stimulation, key global markets and a detailed understanding of the emergence of opportunities concerning new RFID technology for tagging and developments within the workings of the immensely complex sorting systems.
Success with automated baggage handling systems and monitoring technological solutions has been demonstrated by the sharp fall in mishandled baggage rates, lost baggage and passenger processing delays, particularly as passenger flow has done nothing but increase steadily on a global scale.
Modern airport infrastructure relies heavily upon the efficiency of the baggage handling system and automated baggage handling systems increase operational productivity, streamline the entire check-in and passenger processing system and ultimately save money for airlines and airports in the long-term. Integration of automated baggage handling systems with airport IT systems, security systems and airline DCS all adds to the mix to pave the way for the future growth of the market sector.