By the end of 2019, when it is completed, the expansion will increase the capacity, safety and flow of baggage with over 3 kilometres of new baggage handling belt and 50% more capacity. This renewal is part of Finavia’s 1 billion euro investment programme at Helsinki Airport.
Finavia’s System Manager Timo Salminen is responsible for the development of the new baggage handling system. According to him, the project is on schedule.
“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.”
Increasing the baggage handling capacity and expanding the new baggage centre are part of an overall renovation and expansion project at Helsinki Airport. As the capacity of the airport increases, so will the number of passengers. The expansion of the baggage handling system is thus focused on the long term.
Over 10 000 square metres of extra space
The expansion of the baggage handling centre covers an area of 10,000 square metres on two floors and is located underneath the upcoming West Pier and Plaza. The expansion will lengthen the baggage handling belts by over three kilometres and increase the system’s capacity by over 50 per cent. The expansion will also include various technical innovations and improvements, which in turn will increase the system’s reliability and the flow of baggage.
On average the capacity will increase by 5,000 bags per hour. There will be three new X-ray baggage inspection machines which in turn will increase the scanning capacity of the system by approximately 3,300 bags per hour. Also, the capacity of the automatic early baggage storage increases from 1,500 bags to 2,500.
The automatic early baggage storage identifies each baggage and checks whether its flight is already open for baggage sorting. If the flight the baggage is destined for is not open yet, it will be stored and released at the right time automatically. This makes baggage handling more efficient and enables the intake of baggage into the system well before a flight’s scheduled departure time.
The new baggage handling system will increase the flow and pace of baggage at Helsinki Airport. This will benefit every passenger, but particularly transfer passengers. Transfer baggage which goes directly from one flight to another will be processed faster in the future, which will improve baggage flow especially during afternoon peak hours.
Another benefit of the new system is remote video coding which enables unrecognised baggage to be recoded remotely from a desktop by using camera technology. This will speed up the baggage processing: ground handling staff do not have to do the recoding by hand anymore except on rare occasions.
“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,” says Salminen.
Increasing the baggage handling capacity will have its impact on departing flights and transfers, which in turn means that the renewal won’t have an impact on baggage claim. Yet, in the coming years, baggage claim will also be improved as a part of the ongoing development programme of the Helsinki Airport.