Bengaluru International Airport (BLR) operator Bangalore International Airport Limited has installed 16 fully automated self bag drop machines aimed at enhancing baggage processing and reducing check-in queues.

Self-bag drops are already in use at other Indian Airports, but BLR Airport is the first in the country to introduce fully automated baggage drop-off systems. They will allow passengers to check in their luggage as quick as 45 seconds.

Designed and installed by Materna IPS, the Air.Go fully automated self-bag-drop machines would initially be available for passengers flying with Air Asia and Spice Jet.

BIAL COO Javed Malik says: “Continuous improvement of passenger experience at the BLR Airport has always been a priority for us and the introduction of the new self bag drop is a testimony to that.

“We’re excited to be the first airport in the country to offer our passengers and airlines a unique technology that will ease the process of air travel. Our goal is to use technology to improve the passenger experience and to make airport operations more efficient.”

The self bag drop employs a two-step approach. A passenger will first print a boarding pass and an eezee-tag (bag tag) at a self check-in kiosk. Once tagged, the passenger will go to the bag drop machine, scan the boarding pass to initiate the bag drop process. The bag will be measured, weighed, scanned and automatically fed into the baggage handling system.

As many as 32 brand new self check-in kiosks will be installed to print boarding pass and baggage tags. In case of an excess baggage, the passenger will be directed to a hybrid counter to complete the check-in and payment.

With its new location in Bengaluru, Materna is laying the foundations for its activities in the Indian market and for providing intensive support for its customers here.

Known for its user-friendliness, the Air.Go kiosks fulfills the requirements for all airports. In cooperation with Danish designer Marcus Pederson, Materna has adapted the solution with customised design elements especially for this airport.

Materna India head Shibu Matthews explains: “India’s airports are being confronted with growth of up to 25% right now and have expansion plans to match. However, above all, they have to make the best possible use of their existing infrastructure as extensions and new buildings take too long.

“The self-service project at Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru one of the most modern and attractive airports in India, is the first of its kind in the whole of India. We look forward immensely to improving the passenger experience and to mastering the challenges in this exciting growth market with established solutions together with our customers.”

The Air.Go series is an innovative self-service bag-drop solution, which enables airports to automate their conventional check-in process. The self bag drop counters are fitted with scanners, which automatically check flight details and the weight and size of the baggage before it is fed into the baggage conveyor system.

This flagship solution from Materna means the airport is also in a position to offer check-in as a one-stop solution so boarding cards can be issued automatically and baggage can be dropped at one single kiosk.

As a very modular and customisable solution with multiple options Air.Go meets all the requirements of an airport. Future technologies such as payment and biometrics can be integrated as well. The self bag drop system is based on the international common use self-service (CUSS) standard.

This means it can also be used with already existing CUSS-compliant check-in applications, which several airlines already use, without them having to redevelop or adapt them.

Materna also develops and integrates appropriate self-service applications. At BLR Airport, for example, Air Asia and Spice Jet will be using the self bag drop system to begin with and other airlines will soon follow.

After successful installations in Europe and North America, Materna Intelligent Passenger Solutions (ips) is now entering new markets in Asia with its flagship Air.Go product.

In the course of their current and planned activities on the Indian market, Materna has founded a company in India. Since April, Materna Information & Communications India Pvt Ltd has had its headquarters in Bengaluru, the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka.

Having its own company here puts Materna in an optimal position to act independently and to serve the country-specific requirements on the Indian market covering everything from concept design and installation to maintenance of hardware and software.

With Shibu Mathews heading the company here, Materna has got a very experienced manager on board to accompany the projects in India and to build up the company’s expertise.