Speaker Interviews

Discover more about the topics and technologies to be discussed at this year's conference, via a series of exclusive interviews with a selection of our expert speakers.

The next generation of automated baggage handling systems

Daniel Agostino, assistant director, operations, Miami International Airport, explores the challenges and benefits of installing new automated baggage handling systems

What is your presentation about?

The presentation will explore the integration of a new fully automated baggage handling system that consists of a new facility with CTX 9800 EDS machines and mobile inspection tables (MIT) inside the Checked Baggage Resolution Area (CBRA) room. The discussion will dive deeply into operational constraints associated with the transition from an outdated system and standalone EDS operation into the new fully automated system. The presentation will describe from the airport perspective how to properly plan, including getting airline buy-in, and how to work with federal partners and other stakeholders including ground handlers, while still operating in the old environment.

Describe Miami’s automated baggage handling system.

The South and Central baggage handling system is tied to over 350 ticket counter positions and 19 ticket counter input locations. It incorporates the use of 12 EDS screening machines, which at peak times can screen close to 5,000 bags an hour. If an alarmed bag is detected and further screening is needed, it is sent to the CBRA, where 102 mobile inspection tables (MITs) automatically deliver the suspect bags to any of the 52 search positions for secondary inspection. The new system includes three additional miles of baggage conveyors, totaling a nearly nine-mile system.

Why did Miami choose to upgrade?

The EDS machines in our Central and South terminals were reaching the end of their life at the beginning of 2013. TSA, in partnership with MIA, created a long-term solution that would replace the machines and incorporate future forecast baggage volume along with automation and technology to increase efficiency and accuracy and improve customer satisfaction for our airline and federal partners.

What difficulties are faced when changing from an older system to a newer one? Which was the most challenging?

Maintaining regular operations during construction was a challenge. From inception to completion, the project had an impact on over 40 airlines. Coordinating the construction timeline with the tenants’ temporary relocations involved constant communication with the airlines and construction managers. Studies were performed to analyze the impacts of altering the project schedule minimize the impact on operations.

Adapting to the new system was a challenge since it incorporated numerous new technologies and equipment. Mobile inspection tables (MITs) were used to replace traditional conveyors and static search tables at the CBRA. The biggest challenges were adjusting proper staffing/ human power to complement the new technology, and identifying how best to articulate operational metrics and results to the pertinent stakeholders.

What advice would you offer other airports who are planning to update their systems?

Planning, teamwork and coordination are crucial; particularly, including operations input from the beginning is key. Constant communication with stakeholders, particularly the airlines and ground handlers, will be pivotal to the success of the project implementation and system transition. Last, identifying opportunities to speed up phases will pay off in the long run and aid operationally.

Don’t miss Daniel Agostino’s presentation, ‘The next generation of automated baggage handling systems’, on Day 3 of the Passenger Terminal CONFERENCE as part of the Technovation: Baggage, Systems & Integration stream. The full conference program can be found here.

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