Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTHA) in the Netherlands has signed a letter of intent with Vanderlande for the first live baggage handling operation from the company’s FLEET advanced baggage transport solution.

The landmark agreement was signed at the Passenger Terminal EXPO 2018 in Stockholm, Sweden. It confirms both organisations’ commitment to innovative solutions.

Vanderlande and RTHA (part of the Royal Schiphol Group) have agreed to commence a joint innovation project, which is aimed at improving the baggage handling process at Rotterdam with regards to flexibility, efficiency, quality and ergonomics. This will be achieved by FLEET, the first baggage handling system (BHS) in the world that is based on autonomous vehicle technology and supplied in line with Vanderlande’s new ‘as a service’ business model.

Expected to go live in September, FLEET is a flexible and sustainable solution that utilises autonomous vehicle technology, replacing the need for fixed sorting systems. It also consumes up to 50% less energy compared to traditional baggage handling systems. Each individual vehicle carries a single bag and determines the most optimal route through an airport. FLEET has been designed to seamlessly grow alongside an airport, match its operations, and allow it to adapt to changing security and screening regulations.

The agreement will help RTHA to expand and improve its baggage sorting systems; handle a larger number of flights and passengers; improve ergonomic working conditions for ground staff; and future-proof the BHS. Vanderlande will benefit by acquiring experience of FLEET in a live airport environment through which it can test the total technical solution, as well as gain experience with its new business model.

“Following the successful launch at inter airport 2017, we have full confidence in FLEET’s readiness for the market,” says Vanderlande’s Executive Vice President Airports and Member of the Board Andrew Manship. “By signing this agreement, we are pleased to have the opportunity to test and optimise this innovative concept in a live environment, as well as contribute towards RTHA’s strategic objectives.”

“FLEET aligns perfectly with our overall vision of becoming an innovation hub,” adds Managing Director of Rotterdam The Hague Airport Ron Louwerse. “It is future-proof and scalable, will make a positive impact on our sorting efficiency and improve the ergonomics for our baggage handling team. We’re pleased to have signed the agreement, because we believe that FLEET will become a key part of our operations and the best way to help us to connect with our future strategy.”