Interview: How to Speed Up the Handling of Early, Late or Unsorted Bags?
At Sky Assist, communicating with the operations at arrival services and customer relations is critical: it helps us developing our solutions in line with the industry’s needs. On a regular basis, we discuss one-to-one with our customers to share their personal experience of our products.
Reto Hartmann, ICT application specialist at Swissport International, has shared with us their good practices to handle early late not sorted bags at Zurich Airport (ZRH).
Hello Reto, could you please present us the lost and found department at Zurich Airport?
Today in Zurich, there are 90 agents and we are handling around 45 airlines. We have been using BagAssist since 2002 and BagAutorush since 2003. Swissport Geneva and Basel started using BagAutorush in 2007, Swissport Brussels in 2012.
Why did you decide to start using BagAutorush?
There were mainly two reasons why we decided to use BagAutorush:
BagAutorush is very easy to use. The agent just needs to scan the tag, the application checks HP DCS (Axscontrol) and displays three different screens based on the DCS response. To sum it up:
- ‘Green screen’: the bag is on time and can fly on the same flight as its owner
- ‘Yellow screen’: the flight is leaving soon and there is a risk that the bag will not be on the plane on time
- ‘Red screen’: for all the other cases, such as flight already departed, tag or flight not found in DCS, etc
We wanted to be able to forward as many bags as possible in a short period of time. Without BagAutorush, the process requires around up to 3min a bag. The agent needs to write the tag number on a paper, come back to the work station to enter manually the TN, check the DCS to know the status of the passenger and the flight, take the appropriate decision and if needed, rush the bag. The same process with BagAutorush takes 10s, so BagAutorush is really a must-have for our agents now. BagAutorush is a complete solution as it interfaces to DCS, does all the necessary checks in the background and provides the flights list for rushes.
It also offers better service to the passengers who will get their bag earlier than they would if we would be doing these rushes manually. Since the manual process takes much longer, some bags would miss up to two flights before being rushed.
Which agents are using BagAutorush and do they need a specific training?
The agents using BagAutorush are part of the lost and found team, as they are generally the one collecting the rush bags on the belt in the arrival hall. They are mostly men as they need to carry the bags and some can be very heavy.
The training is quite short as BagAutorush is easy to use. Agents receive training on the baggage flow in ZRH because they need to know:
- Our procedures at Zurich Airport: the contact procedure when a bag needs to be taken directly to the plane by a driver (in case of ‘yellow screen’), the contact procedure when more than 200kg of luggage is rushed on the same plane (the load control team should be informed via a phone call or via a telex sent along with the FWD), etc
- The airlines and airports specific rules: we receive instructions from airlines and other airports on their rush processes that we should take into account. For example, some transit stations need more time for transfer bags. Therefore, the agent should select the rush flights accordingly. All these rules are stored in our information system and can be checked by the agents
Could you please explain how agents are using BagAutoush in ZRH Airport?
The BagAutorush work station is located in the sorter room of the airport; there is one PC and a bag tag printer (IER400) next to the conveyor belt taking the bags to the sorter.
The early, late or unsorted bags arrive on a trolley to the BagAutorush work station. Approximately 75% of these bags are transiting in ZRH, where the agent scans the bag tag and depending on the outputs of the DCS, the agent sees one of the three screens: green, yellow or red.
- If the screen is green, it means that the bag is on time and can fly on the same flight as its owner. So the agent simply puts the bag on the conveyor belt which is next to the workstation. The belt carries the bag to the sorter
- If the screen is yellow (which means that the flight is leaving in less than 30min), the agent checks the parking position of the plane which is indicated on the BagAutorush screen. If the plane is nearby, the agent will call a driver to come pick up the bag and deliver it directly to the plane. If the plane is further away, the agent will decide to directly rush the bag on next flight
- In all the other cases, the screen is red (the plane already left, the bag or the flight cannot be found in the DCS, etc.). In the case where the plane already left, the agent will do a rush using the standard BagAssist FWD mask. A rush label is printed by the IER 400 placed next to the BagAutorush workstation. The bag is put on the conveyor belt to be taken to the sorter
For more information, please contact Sky Assist.