Enhancing Baggage Infrastructure Efficiency at Copenhagen Airport

In the second issue of International Airport Review for 2023, Samuel í Hjøllum Rude, Senior Director at Copenhagen Airport, delves into the optimization strategies that have significantly improved the utilization of the airport’s baggage infrastructure. This optimization has allowed for substantial growth without the need for additional physical infrastructure.

Copenhagen Airport’s primary sortation facility for outbound baggage celebrated its 25th anniversary in April. In 1996, when it first commenced operations, the airport served 16.8 million passengers. By 2019, this number had surpassed 30 million. Remarkably, through effective optimization, 80% of this growth was accommodated using the same main sortation facility. In a previous article for International Airport Review, we explored how a combination of change management and algorithms contributed to this optimization. In this piece, we will focus on how the airport maximized the utilization of its baggage infrastructure.

The baggage infrastructure at Copenhagen Airport relies on conveyor systems, featuring lane-based Early Baggage Storage (EBS) and two double-stacked tilt tray sortation machines supplied by Crisplant (Beumer). The sorters have been re-controlled, and a high-level control system from Van der Lande is now in use. On the arrival side, six belts are available for processing baggage.

At the core of their operational improvements is the implementation of morning LEAN board meetings. During these meetings, representatives from the baggage department gather to assess daily Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These meetings serve not only to share information but also to coordinate maintenance and projects efficiently. The approach is data-driven, relying on five KPIs that highlight critical steps affecting the quality of baggage delivery. When a KPI falls below the target (indicated in red), supporting data leads to the identification of the root cause, which is then addressed through specific actions. This culture of data-driven decision-making has enhanced operational standards and knowledge sharing among the team, incrementally optimizing efficiency and quality.

Efficient allocation of arrival belts is crucial for passenger convenience. At Copenhagen Airport, an algorithm based on machine learning predicts when the first and last bags will be off-loaded at each belt. This prediction informs real-time assignment of arrival belts, minimizing instances of overlapping flights sharing the same belt simultaneously. A user interface displays the results to control room operators in a Gantt chart, allowing for immediate adjustments to optimize capacity utilization and enhance the passenger experience.

Additionally, the airport has developed a ‘what-if scenario tool’ in collaboration with its supplier. This tool enables the exploration of future scenarios, assessing the impact of changes in flight schedules or infrastructure on capacity and service levels. It has proven invaluable in planning the Terminal 3 Airside project, which also extends the model to optimize the allocation of off-loading transfer stations, reducing minimum connection times.

The article Enhancing Baggage Infrastructure Efficiency at Copenhagen Airport first appeared in TravelDailyNews International.

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