Rennes Bretagne extends partnership with Alstef for trial of baggage handling vehicle

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Baggage handling group, Alstef, has agreed to trial its innovative BAGXone (automated guided vehicle or AGV) at Rennes Bretagne Airport in France. The AGV is dedicated to automated hold baggage handling in the terminal

The trial is part of an AirportLAB experimentation agreement between Alstef and Rennes Airport (whose two shareholders are VINCI Airports and the Ille-et-Vilaine Chamber of Commerce and Industry). The first phase, which took place in 2021, was the operational testing of a BAGXone in the baggage delivery room at the reclaim area.

The success of the initial trial paved the way for continuation to the next phase. Now the operational testing of the latest BAGXone develops will be deployed in 2022 and underlines VINCI Airports’ desire to make its airports testing grounds for service or operational innovations.

As an extension of the trial, Alstef Group will also implement the first operational installation of BAGXone aat Belgrade Airport in Serbia by the end of the year. It is anticipated that the AGV will perform the transfer of post-screening suspect baggage to the search room and then facilitate their return (after verification) to the final sorting area.

Materna teams with Spirit to revolutionise self-bag drop at Dallas Fort Worth

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Passengers travelling with Spirit Airlines’ redesigned ticket lobby at Dallas Fort Worth in the US can make the most of the airport’s newly installed self-bag drop systems.

The new systems are equipped with the latest biometric technology to offer passengers a contactless identification process when checking bags. Around 400-500 bags are currently checked in at DFW’s new stations every day. With the biometric authentication the entire process takes up to 70 seconds, reducing the average passenger transaction time by 30% compared to previously.

“Dallas Fort Worth Airport is committed to identifying and testing innovative solutions that deliver secure, efficient and frictionless customer experiences,” said DFW Airport VP of Innovation, Jodie Brinkerhoff. “We are excited to support our partner Spirit Airlines as it introduces a self-directed, biometrically enabled check-in and bag drop process – which ultimately provide the customer with greater control and fewer requirements for face-to-face processing and document exchanges.”

Installed in collaboration with Spirit Airlines, Materna’s self-bag drop technology achieved industry recognition as the Best Airport Innovation at the 2022 APEX Awards earlier in December.

Materna first partnered with Spirit in 2019 to develop the US’ first biometric matching solution for domestic air travel. Combining it with the automated baggage handling systems enabled the airline to reduce face-to-face interaction and offer a smoother, seamless passenger check-in experience. Following a strict testing period with biometric authentication, the DFW system will replace the need for a manual ID scan by check-in staff. Materna’s biometric solution is capable of analysing key physical features on more than 50,000 forms of ID from nearly 200 countries, and also detects fraudulent documents for an extra layer of security.

“We’ve been on a mission to find opportunities to continue improving every facet of the guest experience, to include investing in automation and self-service to streamline the travel journey so guests spend less time in lobbies,” said Mike Byrom, VP of Airport Services for Spirit Airlines. “Our guests are tech-savvy, and they appreciate options. Also, limiting touchpoints and unnecessary face-to-face interactions is currently changing the way airports operate.”

Mayotte Dzaoudzi-Pamandzi Airport partners with Alstef to upgrade baggage system

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Mayotte Dzaoudzi-Pamandzi International Airport – the gateway to the French overseas territory of Mayotte in the Indian Ocean, betwen Madagascar and the coast of Mozambique – has partnered with Alstef to upgrade its baggage system. The baggage system specialist originally installed the airport’s baggage system back in 2013.

“We have maintained our relationship with the airport since completing the new terminal baggage system nearly a decade ago and are delighted to be selected again for this upgrade project,” said Thibault Chambon, Alstef Group Sales Engineer.

Part of a wider expansion of the airport, the baggage system upgrade includes new check-in conveyors, a transfer line, an outbound screening conveyor system integrating a new Standard 3 x-ray screening machine, and an extended sortation carousel. The system will also include functional improvements and expanded capacity as part of the overarching operational optimisation enhancements by airport concessionaires EDEIS, planned to address the airport’s growth requirements.

The only airport in Mayotte with scheduled services, Dzaoudzi-Pamandzi primarily offers links to destinations within Africa, metropolitan France and La Reunion Island.

“EDEIS Aéroport Mayotte is pleased to work again with Alstef Group on this major project for the airport,” said Jean Chadoutaud, EDEIS Aéroport Mayotte Deputy Director.

“This upgrade of our baggage system to European Union security standards will also increase capacity to meet territory needs for economic growth. We feel very confident about Alstef Group’s ability to achieve this project thanks to their dedicated organisation, attentiveness, and recognised experience,” he added.

The project will be phased to mitigate the impact on ongoing aiprort operations with the final phase due for completion by mid-2023.

Denver Airport partners with Materna to reveal largest self-bag drop installation in the US

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Denver International Airport has completed Phase 1 of its Great Hall Project featuring 86 new self-bag drop (SBD) systems developed by Materna IPS.

The opening of the SBD systems aligns with the airport’s extensive technological redevelopment project; and is designed to provide a seamless check-in experience with the ability to check-in over-sized luggage, like skis and snowboards. The hybrid self-bag drops are also equipped with counters and can be operated by airline staff if needed – this gives the airport increased flexibility to meet the growth demand.

The deployment of the 86 kiosks is the largest and most extensive hybrid self-bag drop installation in the US. The systems went live with Southwest Airlines in November, followed by United Airlines. Within the first two weeks, more than 35,000 bags had been processed with the newly integrated automatic baggage handling system. They also decreased the average passenger transaction time at the airport by nearly 50% during this period.

In addition to the hardware solution, Southwest Airlines will be using the Materna IPS SBD application to operate the new automated baggage handling process. Materna IPS will also be responsible for hosting the self-bag drop system within the AWS Cloud, where the availability and functionality of the SBD units are constantly monitored.

“Everyone is absolutely honoured to be part of this incredible, groundbreaking and innovative project that is revolutionising passenger handling in the US,” said Gary McDonald, President of Materna IPS, USA.

Frankfurt Airport selects SITA to transform passenger experience

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SITA, the technology provider for the air transport industry, has been selected to deploy its biometric-enabled kiosks and baggage messaging services at Frankfurt Airport, in line with the airport’s plans to increase operational efficiency and improve the passenger experience.

The installation of 87 SITA TS6 kiosks is expected to be completed later this year. The versatile biometric-enabled kiosks, which work alongisde SITA Flex, enable passengers to check in quickly and obtain bag tags for later self-bag drop services. The new SITA TS6 kiosk was the winner of the 2021 IF Design award and was credited for its slick, sustainable and adaptive design, which can be tailored to suit the airport’s brand design and specific customer requirements. Its modular design also mean modifications and enhancements can be made without replacing the entire kiosk.

“Offering passengers innovative, safer, and smarter ways to travel while also ensuring we have resilient and efficient airport operations is vital as our industry recovers from the impact of the pandemic. SITA supports us in achieving this ambition and we look forward to welcoming more passengers back to the skies,” said Pierre-Dominique Prumm, Executive Director Aviation and Infrastructure at Fraport.

The deployment at Frankfurt Airport marks SITA’s largest implementation in Europe.

Leonardo upgrades baggage handling systems at 10 Spanish airports

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Leonardo, the baggage handling solutions specialist has been selected to upgrade the baggage-handling systems at 10 Spanish airports including: La Palma, Santiago-Rosalia de Castro, Valencia, Asturias, Bilbao, Jerez, Reus, Lanzarote, Internacional Region de Murcia and Sevilla.

The combined contracts covering the airports across mainland Spain and the Canary Islands is worth in excess of €35 million and in line with the agreement Leonard will be responsible for ensuring the systems meet the latest security standards. The upgrades will be delivered in partnership with Spanish construction firm, Cemosa.

In addition to replacing baggage transport components, electro mechanical, control, supervision and management equipment for baggage sorting, the project will also see baggage handling systems equipped with European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) Standard 3-approved security technology, including x-ray and computed tomography (CT) scanners.
With the work expected to last less than two years, the 10 airports will be upgraded simultaneously with the continued operation of baggage management services guaranteed by Leonardo throughout the duration of the upgrade work.

Swissport enters into strategic partnership with Airportr

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Swissport, the airport ground services and air cargo handling services provider has entered into a strategic partnership with Airportr – the digital platform and provider of smart baggage management solutions.

With the ability to transform the passenger experience as well as drive operational efficiencies, the collaboration will enable off-airport baggage processing for airports and airlines.

Regardless of whether they travel in economy, business or first class, passengers will be able to pre-book an at-home baggage collection slot for departing flights. A courier will then digitally verify ID and travel documents at the doorstep and seal the baggage for secure delivery to the airport. Live updates and digital airline baggage tags will enable passengers to keep an eye on their bags movements. The solution will also mean passengers can travel bag-free to the airport and bypass the check-in and baggage drop at the airport, proceeding instead directly to security. The solution also streamlines the last leg of passengers’ journeys, allowing them to skip baggage reclaim altogether by digitally submitting an eDeclaration to have their bags cleared through customs and delivered to their destination within hours of landing.

While off-airport processing facilitates truly contactless airport journeys, it also creates value for distribution partners by generating new ancillary revenue streams. And for operators it increases the throughput of existing airport infrastructure by reducing passenger interactions, queues and resource requirements. With 66% of Airportr users switching from car usage to public transport as a result of travelling baggage free it also has a positive sustainability impact.

“The partnership with Swissport is a significant milestone – it outlines a blueprint and scalable platform for the introduction of smart baggage solutions across the aviation industry,” said Randel Darby, CEO and Founder at AirPortr. “With Swissport, we are transforming baggage from a customer and cost pain point into a new revenue stream, increasing handling efficiency and improving the passenger experience.”

The first deployment will launch imminently and will be facilitated by a market strategy that will enable AirPortr to deploy rapidly, making the product available across airline client networks.

Bruno Stefani, SVP and MD for Switzerland and France added: “Swissport strives to continuously enhance its service quality. We want to generate added value for airlines and their passengers in order to offer a simpler and even more enjoyable travel experience in the future. AirPortr’s platform, as well as our global network and existing airline customer relationships, enable an end-to-end solution and user experience for passengers. The complexity of baggage handling will be transformed through user-friendly, intuitive and scalable solutions into a customer-centric service for passengers, allowing the to personalise ancillary services according to their individual needs.”

Smiths Detection enhances cargo screening with fast, reliable cost-effective solution

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Smiths Detection has launched its high speed Hi-SCAN 100100V-2is to deliver higher throughput for break bulk cargo. Designed to meet the demands of fast turnaround, high volume air cargo applications for accelerated security screening, according to Smiths Detection the new model delivers the highest performance with the smallest physical footprint.

Not only does the new model allow for increased and more efficient throughput for express forwarders, mail screening and e-commerce, it can also be utilised at mass transit checkpoint. The dual-view screening for shorter inspection times, with a 200kg conveyor load to support break cargo screening and a 1010 x 1010mm tunnel for easily handling out of gauge baggage. The new model expected to be added to the ‘Qualifier’ section of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA’s) Air Cargo Screening Technology List (ACSTL) in due course.

Existing HI-SCAN 100100V-2is installations can be upgraded to meet the new specifications and the ECAC compliant technology can also be integrated into material handling systems and connected to centralised screening applications for increased efficiency.

“We are delighted to be delivering enhanced capabilities for our HI-SCAN series, with the launch of the new high-speed HI-SCAN 100100V-2is, which addresses the cargo sector’s need for speed and efficiency, and the roll out of automatic weapons detection across three HI-SCAN systems,” said Richard Thompson, Global Director Aviation, Smiths Detection.

“The security screening process cannot be foregone, so implementing automated detection solutions is invaluable for enhancing the smooth flow of people and goods and more effectively tackling threats.”

London Southend partners with Smiths Detection to unveil new baggage x-ray machines

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With air travel continuing to rebound London Southend Airport has invested in two new baggage x-ray machines which together are capable of processing up to 3,600 bags every hour.

The airport recently unveiled a new trial lane within security which allows passengers to leave liquids and laptops within bags taken onboard their flight. Developed by Smiths Detection, the Hi-SCAN 10080 XCT x-ray scanning equipment offers a next generation high speed checked baggage system. Data generated from baggage passing through the system provides the highest resolution images possible to optimise detection performance while also offering 3D technology. Each machine can process up to 1,800 bags per hour.

Robson were contracted to supply the conveyor system as well as local businesses to complete the installation.

“As travel restrictions ease, so too will passenger confidence and demand,” said Glyn Jones, CEO, London Southend Airport. “We believe the airport has a bright future and continue to invest to bring local economic benefits, from connectivity to employment. The new hold bag system will ensure efficiency when processing passengers bags onto flights whilst maximising security via new x-ray screening technology.”

Meanwhile, Richard Thompson, Global Director for Aviation at Smiths Detection added: “We are delighted that London Southend Airport chose us as their partner to deploy the latest and highest specification security screening equipment. These systems will provide operational efficiencies and passenger experience improvements behind the scenes, all of which will be invaluable both as air travel picks up and many years into the future.”

Siemens Baggage 360 uses AI to provide airports with real-time flow forecasting

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Airports, airlines and ground handlers can now benefit from Siemens Logistics’ new version of its baggage handling and airport operations software Baggage 360.

The software provides real-time baggage flow forecasting, an interactive map of all airfield movements and a resource planning and simulation tool, thus enabling airport stakeholders too plan and allocate their fixed, mobile and human resources optimally.

Baggage 360 also leverages cloud technology to offer more than IoT functionalities and predictions driven by artificial intelligence (AI). It consists of a suite of applications to ensure seamless operations. Forecasting functions utilise advance AI and machine learning algorithms to anticipate expected baggage volumes for the next 24 hours and pinpoint potential bottlenecks or malfunctions. For example the resource planning tool can be used to change a flight’s make-up or laterals assignment to shorten baggage journey time.

“The new release of Baggage 360 is an important step toward a digital twin for baggage handling processes,” says Michael Reichle, CEO of Siemens Logistics. “The virtual representation of real-time operations helps airports to monitor and manage processes remotely and intuitively. Our pilot customers were impressed by how additional functionalities increased their operational efficiency.”

With airport stakeholders subject to high costs and time constraints, particularly following the global pandemic, the need to scale processes in line with passenger and baggage fluctuations is a challenge as the industry continues to recover.

As part of a pilot, Baggage 360 improved the average end-to-end travel times by nine minutes through smarter planning and allocation of laterals, the points at which ground handlers feed the baggage handling system with transfer bags. Furthermore, on a single day, Baggage 360 contributed to 22% fewer left-behind bags.

Baggage 360 is based on MindSphere, the open IoT operating systems from Siemens. It connects real-world processes and machines with the digital world of data analytics and apps. It can be implemented at any airport – regardless of size or the operating system in use. The apps are highly scalable, allowing businesses to access more features and services as they grow.