Following a successful trial period, Vanderlande has received an order to supply 160 innovative STACK@EASE manual loading aids to Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA). As the volume of passenger baggage continues to increase at the site, Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) was keen to assess new initiatives. STACK@EASE was selected as the most optimal solution to enhance the automation of its baggage handling system (BHS), as well as the health and safety of handling staff.

HKIA is one of the busiest international passenger airports in the world, handling more than 80,000 pieces of baggage a day. "Although we have a state-of-the-art computerised BHS, much physical effort is required to load and unload bags to the aircraft containers," says Steven Yiu, General Manager Airfield, AAHK. "To maintain a reliable and efficient system that meets passenger expectations, we have to safeguard the wellbeing of the ground staff who handle the increasing volume of baggage."

A one-month trial was set up to test STACK@EASE inside the airport’s flight make-up environment, which comprised stacked laterals. The results and feedback from key stakeholders confirmed that it will significantly reduce the risk of injury from manual lifting. As a highly flexible and ergonomic solution, STACK@EASE takes the heavy lifting out of baggage handling. It helps operators to load containers and carts productively, and minimises their physical workload.

It can also be integrated with a radio frequency identification (RFID) device that provides a faster, more accurate read rate of RFID bag tags. This ultimately enhances the effectiveness of the automatic baggage reconciliation system. In addition, STACK@EASE is compatible with all types of baggage containers used on site, making it a cost-effective and operationally versatile solution.

AAHK will install around 160 units over the next two years, covering all the laterals in its BHS. It is the second airport in the world to equip its flight make-up areas with STACK@EASE, which has also been installed at Heathrow Airport T3. Several trials are currently taking place at other airports around the world.