Airport operator Finavia has announced plans to expand the capacity of its baggage handling system (BHS) by 50% at Helsinki Airport in Finland.

The BHS will be added with an additional 3km of baggage handling belt and advanced sorting technology to boost capacity.

Scheduled to be completed by the end of next year, the expansion will increase the capacity, safety, reliability and the flow of baggage.

The renovation is part of Finavia’s €1bn investment programme at Helsinki Airport.

Finavia system manager Timo Salminen said: “The renovation of the current system has been going on since the end of 2017, and it will continue until the end of this summer. The new system will be connected to the old one which requires a lot of updates to the old system.”

“The increased capacity and the new sorting area will also bring more security and reliability to the system as it will no longer be so dependent on a single sorting area.”

Located beneath the upcoming West Pier and Plaza, the expansion of the baggage handling centre encompasses an area of 10,000m² on two floors.

Upon completion, the capacity will increase by 5,000 bags per hour.

Three new X-ray baggage inspection machines will be installed that will boost the scanning capacity of the system by nearly 3,300 bags per hour. Additionally, the capacity of the automatic early baggage storage increases from 1,500 bags to 2,500.

The baggage storage identifies individual bags and checks if its flight is open for baggage sorting. If the flight is not open yet, it will be stored and released at the right time automatically.

Another advantage of the new system is remote video coding which allows unrecognised baggage to be recoded remotely from a desktop by using camera technology.

Salminen further added: “The increased capacity and the new sorting area will also bring more security and reliability to the system as it will no longer be so dependent on a single sorting area. For passengers, this will mean faster and a more secure transfer of their baggage to their destination.”