Crisplant — a global leader in automated baggage-handling systems — has been awarded a €12.6m contract to upgrade the automated baggage handling system at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, China. This major upgrade is scheduled to be completed in time to prepare Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport for handling visitors and athletes attending Asia’s largest-ever multi-sport events.

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport currently handles 31 million passengers per year, travelling to around 100 primarily domestic destinations. Crisplant has scheduled work on the upgrades to be completed in a series of over-night shifts, using time allocated for routine maintenance.

The need to increase capacity has been driven by steady growth in air passenger traffic, in China and throughout Asia, as well as by Asia’s largest ever multi-sport events, which will take place in Guangzhou: the 16th Asian Games, or XVI Asiad, will be held in November 2010, followed by the inaugural Asian Para Games in December 2010.

Plans for an upgrade were included in the original baggage handling system, which was designed and installed by Crisplant in 2004. The upgrade will add an extra 18 check-in counters and conveyors, taking the total to 182. Also included in the upgrade is the integration of six new security screening machines, which will provide additional baggage screening capacity, particularly for baggage bound for North America. The two original Crisplant tilt-tray sorters already provide sufficient handling speed for the increased capacity but will be extended with the addition of 10 inductions. The sorting system upgrade also includes 11 vertical sort units, ten horizontal sort units, two chutes and 30 360° IATA tag scanners.

A new server room will house the latest high-level control systems: sort allocation control (SAC) and Crisplant sorter control (CSC) software, as well as a sophisticated corporate information system (CIS) which will provide advanced statistical analysis of baggage-handling efficiency. The upgrade also extends to the baggage-handling control room, which will be fitted with a video wall as well as new workstations and hardware.

An official ceremony on 12 October 2009 marked the start of work on the upgrade and was attended by representatives from the airport authorities, Crisplant, the Asian Games (Asiad) and other organisations.

The head of construction at Guangzhou Baiyun Airport commented, “It is imperative that the airport is ready to handle the increased capacity generated by these two high-profile events. There can be no delays and no errors. That is why we have awarded this crucial contract to Crisplant, who have already demonstrated their ability to deliver advanced baggage-handling systems, on time and on budget.”

Kim Nyborg Carlsen, airport director of Crisplant, said, “Provision for possible future upgrades, which will take capacity far beyond the immediate needs, should be an essential factor in the design of any new baggage-handling system. Extensive emulation allows Crisplant to test a system’s performance at current peak volumes and then extend this to projected peak volumes which may become the norm as air passenger traffic increases. Planning for tomorrow’s capacity is vital in designing today’s systems.”