Baggage handling systems specialist ALSTEF has won a new contract to provide an early bag store for TAV at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport. Tom Allett discovers the challenges for its creators.
Airport security screening checks have grown in intensity since 9/11 and everyone has needed to get used to arriving at the airport earlier than previously required.
This unwelcome but necessary inconvenience has knock-on effects throughout an airport, including in baggage handling systems. The days of turning up for flights minutes before departure are over and the need to check-in earlier and allow extra time to negotiate the security process has led to a surge of luggage items entering the baggage system earlier. Early bag stores (EBS), designed to hold items of luggage ‘to one side’ until its flight is ready for loading, are becoming increasingly popular to relieve pressure at busy airports.
Now Istanbul Atatürk is a 45 million-passenger major hub for Turkish Airlines, it is essential it is equipped with an EBS to store early check-in and transfer passengers’ bags.
A major difficulty TAV faced was the narrow space available in the main sortation hall for the system, given that it would need to cope with high-flow peaks in the baggage system.
TAV already has a long-term business partnership with the French baggage-handling company ALSTEF, which dealt with the design, installation and maintenance of Atatürk’s existing baggage handling system. During the tender process, ALSTEF put forward the idea of splitting the EBS into two parts and building them on a mezzanine above the existing tilt tray sorter. The result is a technical solution to an EBS requirement with unusual characteristics and ALSTEF was awarded the contract for the design and installation.
Despite the relatively small building, the new EBS will provide storage for up to 1,200 bags and handle input of approximately 1,600 bags per hour. Seven high-speed shuttles will dispatch the bags to 60 storage lanes, where they will be stored before being sent to their respective flights.
Philippe Marino, ALSTEF’s Director of Airport Systems, told Airports International: “The challenge for ALSTEF is to deliver the project within a very short time. Six months are allocated for the design, manufacturing, installation and commissioning work.
“Thanks to ALSTEF’s high level of expertise to perform the works during the airport operations, these will not be interrupted. The existing sortation system will be running at full capacity while the EBS is installed; just two metres above the main tilt tray sorter.
“This EBS will be fully managed by a dedicated module of BAGWARE, the baggage handling management software developed by ALSTEF. This software has been managing the entire Istanbul Atatürk Airport baggage handling system since 2010. The system will be fully flexible and allow customisation in real time as required.”