Terminal 3 at Heathrow will benefit from an advanced baggage handling system in 2013, designed, developed and installed by Vanderlande Industries under a contract awarded by BAA worth £71.7million.

22 million passengers a year travel through Terminal 3, with high levels of flight transfer producing both early and late bags. Central to the winning system’s design is a ‘pull approach’ that will optimise flight build of luggage into containers for the multiple international airlines based at this terminal. “Planned and managed baggage release into the flight build process is essential for handling efficiency and maximisation of capacity,” says Nick Porter, general manager of Vanderlande in the UK. “A system that is driven by incoming bag traffic is simply not appropriate for this terminal’s profile.”

Designed to meet exacting needs and standards, the system will incorporate new technologies from Vanderlande for pre-sorting luggage (Baxorter), load compliance (Bagcheck) and ULD loading (Bagload). A key benefit is identification and separate routing of luggage that would, due to size or shape, cause jams and stoppages in the main baggage handling system.

Reduced building footprint and low operating costs alongside a good working environment that protects the health and safety of staff are important features of the new Terminal 3 baggage handling system. Connectivity through a ‘baggage backbone’ tunnel to Terminal 5’s baggage handling system is an added benefit for passengers with flight transfers.

“Meeting the multiple needs of baggage handling and check-in staff, airlines, passengers and the airport operator requires a tailor-made solution,” says Porter. “But whatever the configuration needs, the essential outcome is always accurate, measurable and sustained baggage handling quality at the lowest unit cost.”