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CURRENT AND FUTURE METHODS OF TRANSPORTATION AND BAGGAGE HANDLING

RFID tags :

1. By how much has efficiency gone up in terms of mishandled bags?

2. Unit cost difference and affordability by smaller airports?

3. Will counterfoil tags to passengers be beneficial in tracking/mishandled situations?

No benefit, there is an IATA Resolution 753, which addresses this issue  

4. In case of checking in outside the terminal (city/home), is it possible to obtain reliable tagging?

This is something the industry is looking at.


BHS :

1. As airports generally need a custom fit baggage system, can prototyping of BHS be done? Also, as phasing and expansions at an airport is inevitable, could modular additions be done without much interruption to existing operation?

We have already embarked on feasibility study looking at this particular issue. It can be achieved with minimal disruption.  

2. How can operation and maintenance of BHS be made cost effective? Does the design of the terminal play a role in this aspect?

Indeed the design of the terminal does have a huge impact of the BHS, with the maintenance aspect of the system addressed at the design stage.

3. What is your opinion on removing baggage facilities from the terminal building into a separate logistic function building?

This would be problematic, as the customer would have to check the luggage in, and then make their way to the terminal building. We are trying to make the customer experience seamless and trouble free.

4. Is it possible to combine level 1 & 2 and level 3 & 4 of screening technology? Is there a benefit of time or space in doing so?

This is already being done

5. Screening process to sensitive destinations is different to what extent? Responsible stakeholder?

Additional screening is the main difference. All luggage passes through the normal screening process. If an airline requires additional screening this is then carried out via a different system, which they supply and man.

6. Optimum throughput of baggage and impact of check-in reporting time for mishandled baggage (die back?)?

7. Impact of transfer baggage? Can this be sorted out by direct transporting? LCC short haul and legacy long-haul interlining will add to transfer complexities?N/A

8. Larger terminals and satellite piers adversely affect the minimum connection time for baggage in case of transfer passengers.N/A

9. Any separate technology for out of gauge baggage?

The OOG baggage is subject to the same screening requirement as the main system. Standard 2, soon to be standard 3

10. Is baggage scanned again during transfer? At departure terminal, is the bag scanned as per final destination regulations or transfer point regulations?

N/A

11. In case of adopting new technologies from time to time, what motivates the airport financially?


Planners and architects :

1.Will baggage and passenger part for a longer or shorter interval in future air travel? (where ideally could they be separated and reunited in an entire process of home to home travel)

2. How viable is city bag drop concept keeping in mind of the size and location of the airports?

3. Is travel light the concept for future travel where baggage if necessary could be transported by a third party like courier etc.?

4. Can the growing security concerns be solved with technology at the same time reducing process requirements which implies spatial and cost benefits?

5. Rethinking the existing framework of travel process, how would you suggest to eliminate the requirement of vast spaces for baggage handling in the terminal?

6. Is the city check in process viable for smaller airports? What are the key points to be kept in mind for planning these infrastructure?

7. Does the geographic location of the airport influence the city check in concept?

8. What is your opinion on rethinking the existing process of check-in and BHS? Should security concerns restrict this perspective?

9. In case of baggage handling at city check in points, is the additional logistic facility feasible in terms of Capex and OPEX?

10. Who is the main stake holder for the city check in? If airlines, how is the integration of handling and security seen to?

11. From your experience is the passenger confident about parting with their bag at a different location and for a longer period of time?

12. If given a choice would passengers choose to keep the bag with them throughout the process? What practical difficulties do you see in implementing this?


Answer

ABSTRACT

In aviation industry, mishandling and baggage loss are the major problems that the airports encounter. With the increased number of citizens selecting aviation as the mode of transportation, it has become important for the airport authorities to invest in technological innovations and systems improvement, in order to reduce the number of misplacement or baggage loss incidents. This will help in increasing the security and ensure passenger satisfaction. The space occupied by the baggage handling crew is also ad hoc in size and has prime real estate value in the airport terminal.

The aim of the thesis is to explore the previous research works that have analysed the required changes in the baggage handling process of airports to focus on the improvement of the current process with the implementation of technological advancements. It also focuses on the baggage handling movement from the passenger terminal to the fringe of the airport. The main parameters that are used to assess the different scenarios are space, cost and time. The passenger experience and response mainly emphasized on the pros and cons of the baggage handling service.

The study shows the rethinking of the current process as a compliance with the current technological advancements and author concludes that, enabling passengers to pay for what they wish can be realised to a greater extent. Introducing more city check-in facilities with the existing practice is another interesting possibility that would increase the efficiency and reduce the stress on the passenger travel process. Findings on how innovative technology can remodel passenger and baggage flow are summarised as conclusions.


   

Keywords: Baggage handling, passenger and bag flow, city check-in.

Word Count:



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I wish to thank the team at centre of Air Transport Management, Canfield University for their support. I highly appreciate and thank the constant guidance and support of my supervisor Ar. Henry Rother who played the most vital role in drafting up this thesis. I would also like to thank Dr. Thomas Budd the course director and Prof. Keith Mason my personal tutor for their valuable support.

I would also like to thank Mr. Matt Mullen from Luton Airport for his constant support and help during the time data collection and information assemblage from the baggage handling team.

Finally and most importantly I thank my family and friends who believed in me and encouraged me to be in the position where I am today.


1  INTRODUCTION

  1. Background and research problem

In aviation industry, mishandling and baggage misplacement is a crucial issue that are experienced by the airport authorities. With the increased number of citizens selecting aviation as the mode of transportation, it has become important for airport to invest in technological and systems improvement in order to reduce the number of mishandling or baggage loss. Several researchers have emphasized on the significance of proper baggage handling in airports in order to ensure satisfaction of the passengers. There are eminent research works that explored the technological changes that are required in the current baggage handling process used by the leading airports. The processing times of the baggage and the inconvenience caused faced the passengers are the factors that support the initiative to think differently. 

  1. Aim

The aim of the thesis is to study the future baggage flow process and the impact of technology on its operational aspect. The research also looks into the existing baggage handling methods to investigate, if they can be simplified logistically by the use of technology and also facilitate potential possibilities to conduct the service in a more systematic manner.

  1. Objectives

The objectives of the study could be stated as:

  1. Methodology

The author chose to study the existing framework of how the baggage is handled once checked in and the need for the different operations and facilities in the BHS. This was done by reading existing literature reviews and conducting a case study of Luton Airport. The next step was interviewing experts in the industry, where specific set of questions were discussed with Airport Planners and Baggage consultants. A general understanding of how the current planning is done was explained by the questions answered by the experts. Then with the information gathered from the literature study and interviews, different end-to-end scenarios were outlined by the author to find the advantages of the use of new technologies owing to the extension of the baggage system beyond the terminal.   

The main parameters considered were Time, space and cost while analysing the different elements of the process. 









  1. Scope of Research

The scope of the study includes the current procedures and technologies which gives an understanding of the baggage handling requirements in the terminal. It also covers the possibility of stretching the airport operations outside the terminal building that could enrich the passenger experience simultaneously, reducing the space usage of the terminal which is prime real estate. Space, time and cost implications are briefed but details on large scale are omitted as these technologies are still in the experimental stage.

  1. Limitations

Literature and studies regarding the city check-in process, where bag drop is involved are limited. Hence the findings of the author are completely based on the interviews and questions answered by the experts and their perception. Again, there is no adequate written material on the operations outside the terminal and legislations. Hence the conclusions developed by the scenarios are not completely ideal as the stake holders have different interests and security concerns are increasing consistently.   


  1. LITERATURE RIEVIEW

  1. Historical development of baggage handling

Baggage handling system is considered to be a type of conveyor system that is implemented in the airports and is used to move the checked baggage coming from the airplanes (Song et al. 2015). The baggage handling system has been subject to significant changes with the incorporation of new technological changes. The application of automation in the baggage handling system first came into the light in 1994-95 when the Denver international Airport automated the baggage system of the airport (Snook, 2017). 

Different airports have different number of bags, per passenger and process, depending upon the location and the passenger profile of the airport (Kong and Yang, 2018). Considering the Baggage handling technology that were being used by the airports ten years ago, multiple cases of mishandling have been noticed and the count amounted to approximately 50 million. With the introduction of the bag charges, the number of passengers and their expectation related to the baggage service have increased. With the advent of new technology, it has been possible to take individual account of the number of bags and has significantly reduced the misplacement phenomenon. In this regard, it is important to note that the smarter baggage handling system has the capacity to improve the customer experience of the industry (Mudbug, 2016). The benefit of the smarter baggage handling system is not only limited to customer satisfaction; rather it has largely saved US$ 2 billion every year. As per SITA’s baggage report, US$ 2 billion is the approximate cost of recovering and reuniting the passengers with lost bags in the year 2016 (International Airport Review. 2018). 

With the rise of bag-tracking technology, 200 airports and 500 airlines that are members of the International Air Transport Association, have reflected much improved baggage handling instances (Airport Technology. 2018). IATA ADRM has suggested that with the help of decentralized facilities where the passengers and the baggage can be processed separately, the potential management costs would turn out to be higher. 

2.2 Current practices in the baggage handling process 

The existing methods that are practiced in recent times for baggage handling includes the following categories of BHS.

Category A: This category of BHS indicates the baggage handling system that has a low rate of flow and is less than 99 bags per hour. This type of BHS uses less complex technology along with manual system of serration.
Category B: The second category indicates the BHS that has between 1000 bags to 4999 bags/hour to process and employs automation for the process of serration. The chief examples to this automation in the BHS are seen in the Denver airport that is also referred. However, the automation in the BHS failed in the airport.

Category C: In this category it includes these baggage systems that posses high flow rates and require high-end automation along with the DCV systems , recommended by IATA (2004) for the larger airports.

It is important to understand the primary reason for which the airports are investing more into developing the baggage handling system. Additionally, the congestion has increased because of increasing spoke operation to the hub. The baggage flow in the existing system can be summed up through the following figure.


Figure 2. Flow of baggage within the existing system (Source: Jayaraman, 2010)


In the above flowchart Jayaram (2010) has summarized different processes that exist in the handling, departing, arriving and transfer of baggage. Although Jayaram (2010) concentrated on identifying the mishandling possibilities through the evaluation of the current methods, he has not discussed relevant, alternative flow options regarding baggage handling.




  1. Mishandled baggage

The air transport industry faced a total loss of US$ 2.3 billion in the year 2017. Although, the mishandling rate improved by 2.8% in 2017, at 5.57 bags per thousand passengers compared to .73 in 2016 (SITA, 2018).



A close up of a logo Description generated with high confidence

Figure 3. Mishandled baggage statistics (Source: SITA, 2018)






  1. Baggage process

  1. The current process of baggage transportation

In the current baggage transportation system, the stages start primarily from the check in process. According to (Khong and Yanagi, 2018) the traditional process of check in includes a full-service counter at the terminal that checks in the passenger and enters the bag into the central BHS (Yong et al. 2016). As far as the passenger experience is concerned it was a convenient process and veritable as well. However, the process bears staff costs and the disadvantages include the significant issue of big traffic that resulted in long queues. Managing the long queues at the check in hall is difficult and it makes the airport stringent as well. The service quality differed for the first class and the economy passengers (Khong and Yanagi, 2018). Most importantly, the airlines and airports with low cost unit business models were unable to manage accommodating the number of checking desks required for the customers. The number of desks used influenced the charges for the desks.

With the emergence of customer satisfaction issue, the airports attempted to solve the issue of capacity in order to solve the problem of confined space, (Baskoro et al. 2017). This brought forth the idea of more space that remains underutilized during most of the time and it proved to be costly as well. In order to optimize the spatial infrastructure of terminal check-in process, the system of online check in through mobile or laptops emerged.

Another important process is the one step process of CUSS and Bag drop that is more convenient and less time consuming. At the same time, the process also solves the problem of space in the check-in halts. The process helps in reducing extensive pressure at the security check as well (Looze and Bos, 2018). In this regard, it is important to note that the process had negative effect on the passenger’s experience as well as they did not see their luggage to be fed into the BHS at the check-in halls. However, considering the end-to-end handling time of a bag to be 10-15 minutes, LCCs point-to-point transfer makes the baggage-handling requirement simpler and helps in achieving the short turnaround time. Baggage handling can be categorized as departure, arrival and transferring bags. These two categories are simpler compared to the process of transfer of the bags. LCCs are more focused with the on point service facilities on travels and thus they have simpler procedures (Carpatair, 2016). However, the mainline carriers consist of more complex technology systems in the baggage handling process. 

  1. Baggage handling system design

The moot exponent in designing a baggage system includes higher probability of detection that is known as POD along with FAR or low false alarm rate. It is important for the design to be easily integrated into the baggage flow as well as performing in complete automatic manner that can act robustly (Gupta and Naik, 2016). Apart from that, the other factors that need to be taken into account are system reliability, low maintenance cost, affordable capital cost along with feasibility of low energy costs. 

  1. Considerations for BHS

In airport, the baggage is a relatively small but important component that plays a significant role in delivering efficiency and savings. Snook (2017) has suggested that at the time of selecting a new material or any new design for incorporating them in airport, the operators must take into account several conflicting considerations. The key factors that are functional for the decision are:

  1. Cost savings

Cost is one of the major considerations that are associated with changing a predominant system. As far as the baggage belts are concerned, they tend to consume a vast quantity of electricity. In order to ensure seamless running, most of the belts receive more power than required. Therefore, daily operation includes unnecessary expense during daily operations. Majority of the expense comes due to the friction, present between the baggage belt and the slider belt (Brice et al. 2015). Therefore, taking into consideration the requirement of larger number of electrical units for seamless operation, the manufacturer to produce future generation of technology that has the capability of allowing the belts to run more efficiently in order to reduce the friction has been found to be crucial in the current context. Coatings on the belts, pulleys and similar components are used in order to minimize the friction. The new advanced materials that are used in the manufacturing of the belts are lightweight, more flexible and stronger at the same time (Jarvis, 2017). The unnecessary energy consumption can be reduced through smarter power. It is important to note that the loads on the baggage belts vary and thus it is important that the all of them are able to produce adequate power in order to cope with the peak period of traffic. Smarter control systems have the capacity of sensing load requirements and thus they can adjust the power output that can suit the purpose. As per the recent reports, airports have been able to slash baggage power by up to 50% (Jarvis, 2017). Although, the smart system is energy efficient, the expense of installing the system requires majority of capital investment. It is important that new products are introduced that can achieve all the requirements in a modular way and single design can help in reducing the need for multiple conveyor belts and can also help in keeping the cost under control.

  1. Environment

In the recent years, airports have come under the huge pressure of improving their credentials with reducing the amount of wastage, carbon footprint and the effect on the surrounding area (Rockwellcollins.com. 2018). Therefore, each of the features of the airport is under the influence of the Environmental legislation. As far as the new materials are concerned, the chief advantage is the reduction of the friction and energy wastage. The complaints against noise produced by the baggage belts and the regulations regarding noise levels have influenced the new belts to produce quieter running systems (Rockwellcollins.com. 2018). It is important to note that the reduced noise levels have made for a more comfortable environment and pleasant customer experience. 

  1. Reliability

In airport, the baggage system needs to be reliable as any identified issue can lead to unnecessary delay. For example, in 2014 and IT failure in the baggage handling system in Heathrow led to enormous build-up of the luggage in the departure lounge. Therefore, the IT solutions need to be smoother, more efficient and less prone to malfunction. Therefore, the moot consideration is to build more reliable belts that extend service life and reduces the risk of the failure. Vanderlande (2016) has suggested designing a system with fewer moving parts that can help in decreasing the resistance and the chaos at the airport premises.

  1. Health and safety

Health and safety of the baggage crew is often overlooked in the traditional baggage system (Thomas, 2016). According to a report for the Health and Safety Commission found that, handlers often required to lift approximately 10 tonnes of weight during a single shift. This affected the muscular-skeletal well-being of the handlers. However, it has been identified that moving bags by hands are more hazardous than technical systems support (Todd, 2016). Therefore, automation has also been utilized in order to reduce the health and safety requirements of the crew. In this regard, it is also important to note that operators need to consider one further factor in decision making, therefore, the quality and reputation of the provider. 







  1. Evolution of BHS

After 2013, in order to decrease the mishandled baggage the following changes have been incorporated over a span of time.

  1. System upgrades

Software and applications provide limited services as they can resolve the problem of luggage moving from the check-in desk to the aircraft hold and back through the arrival’s airport’s baggage handling system (Lee and Ji, 2015). Several companies like Siemens (German), Alstef Automation (French) and the Crisplant system (Denmark) that is manufacturers of the system. 

  1. Smart Bag tags

It has helped in providing individual assurance to the passengers regarding the checking of the luggage. Smart tag innovations have improved the process and helped in reducing the number of baggage mishandling incidents. In this regard, it is important to note that Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), SkyTarx’s 2014 winner for the best baggage handling system, invests a major moiety of amount in RFID technology (Mallick et al. 2018). It was the first airport that had introduced RFID luggage tags in 2008. On the other hand, Lyngsoe Systems had introduced RFID solution at HKIA, which made them become the world-leader in RFID solutions. To improve further, the baggage handling service the company has developed a comprehensive network.

  1. RFID

RFID is considered as an innovative development in the domain of new e-tag and e-track system that have been introduced by Air France-KLM in collaboration along with the input from their SkyTeam partner Delta Airlines. The combination of devices allows the customers to track the bags throughout the journey directly on their phone using GSM, GPS as well as Bluetooth technology (Singh et al. 2016). ETag can automatically update and display the flight details and the barcode that generates at the time of check-in from home. The customers just need to drop off the bag at the terminal and leave (Møller et al. 2017). As per a study of SITA, Delta airlines that process 120 million bags each year, with the help of RFID technology could meet Resolution 753 of SITA. With the help of 344 Delta stations worldwide, the airline has obtained 99.9% bag-tracking success rate. 

There are alternatives to the e-Tag and the e-Track devices as well. Companies like Samsonite, Rimowa has developed the track & trace bag with e-Tag and e-Track devices embedded and it indicates less chance of losing the baggage.

  1. Limitations of RFID

Cavada et al (2017) has identified the problems with e-Tracks and e-Tags and the chief limitation is Air France-KLM can deploy the system only to a limited group of passengers for trials before making them available for the larger market segment. Therefore, it is difficult to predict the success of the system. On the other hand, the decision of AirFrance-KLM to make this particular device associated with the Flying Blue frequent Program also seems problematic (Nahavandi et al. 2015). The major limitation lies in the fact that the system only activates at the time of checking in the flight with the flying blue account of the customer. The technology cannot benefit the customers who are not the members of the Flying blue frequent programme. Additionally, high price of these bags were one of the reasons of not becoming a success.

  1. Future of baggage handling

Snook (2017) has pondered upon a report of SITA that claims the luggages of the passengers are less likely to be lost in the coming years. SITA has emphasized on the factor of technological advancement that has helped in reducing the number of mishandled bags by 21.2%. At the check-in points as discussed earlier, the bags are tagged with a barcode which are used in order to track the bags (Brice et al. 2015). British Airways had tested digital bag tag that enables the passengers to track their baggage themselves. After the bags are received from the passengers, the baggage is routed through X-ray machines and other security devices. Heathrow airport has attempted to develop a new baggage handling system that uses one terminal at Terminal 3, which is known as T3IB. The success of the process can ensure this to be the most modern baggage facility in Europe. As per the claims of the airport the system can be capable of handling 110 million bags every year. Gupta et al. (2016) have mentioned that in order to cope with the expected surge in demand, it is possible for the airports to either expand or become more efficient. For the baggage handling as Khong and Yanagi (2018) noticed the systems that are used currently need to be seamless and less liable for any possible malfunction. 

As far as the RFID technology is concerned it is expected that the no-read tags are to be developed further and the RFID tags capped to the luggage. Furthermore, it is important to understand the capability of artificial intelligence and robotics in changing the baggage handling complications of airports. For future, Alsyouf (2018) states that the bag drop-off is going to be more intelligent with intelligent machines like Leo which is a fully autonomous robot that can take off at airports. Leo an autonomous robot is expected to be used in the check-in and print bag tags as well as transporting the bags to the desired location (Vanderlande.com. 2018). 

It has also identified the importance of designing more reliable and stronger belts can help in extending service life and reduce the risk of failure. Kalakou et al (2015) concentrating more on the changing dynamics of the passenger processes has indicated the short term and the long-term developments of airport technology. In the findings, the researchers have mentioned that the key technologies that are to be affecting the central passenger processing function are identity management and biometrics. It indicates restructuring of the airport terminals as well. Similar to Kalakou et al (2015), Ashgar (2016) has also identified the trend of smart phone applications and Big Data analytics. The case study of Lisbon Portela airport used by Kalakou et al (2015) reflects upon the success regarding the reduction of the process times of passenger check-in and the security checkpoints with the help of passenger facilitation process. Again, the case study supports the perspective of Yong et al (2016) that the future of baggage handling in airports is going to be more customer-centric and thus the moot focus is going to be on the satisfaction of the passengers. From the current trends, Ashgar (2016) has identified that the future processes are going to be more customer-oriented and can reflect self-service facility at the airports. 

Leo is another new development in the baggage handling that can transform the future of baggage handling at airports. Leo that is a fully automatic baggage robot that was trialled at Geneva airport last year and it is currently being trialled at different airports around the world. Leo has demonstrated that robotics can help in achieving more effective, secure and smarter baggage handling according to Serfontein (SITA). With the help of Leo and such robots, it is possible to create a more secure and smarter baggage handling. It has the capacity to limit the number of bags and trolleys in the terminal. Therefore, using robots like Leo can help the airports to accommodate a growing number of passengers and can reduce the congestion as well. With the reduction of congestion automatically, the airport navigation becomes easier and it helps in the spatial development of the terminals as well. 

  1. Advantages of the advanced baggage check in systems

Jarvis (2017) has discussed the futuristic designs and the technologically advanced baggage handling systems have several advantages as follows:

  • According to SITA’s vice president the bag tracking technology that is the part of the advanced baggage handling system ensures that the passengers’ checked baggage assures a safe journey and reaches the destination ssafely. Therefore, in reduces the number of mishandled bags.
  • Bag Journey designed by SITA helps the airlines and airports to become compliant with Resolution 753 as well as it provide necessary assistance regarding the case of a passenger’s baggage make onto the aircraft.
  • Self-service check ins are more preferred by the passengers and as per the IT Trends Survey of SITA 91% passengers have been identified to be using self-service technology in order to check-in. 
  • As Chapman explained the touch less check introduced in the Luton airport provides several airport benefits and that are increased terminal efficiency as well as baggage system.
  • Other airport benefits include ancillary revenue uplift, decreased handling costs as well as improved customer satisfaction. 
  • It helps in reducing the queue time and the process is simpler than the traditional baggage handling process.

Advanced baggage handling with the help of automation, information technology and artificial intelligence, it is possible to provide the passengers with a better airport experience that SITA is looking for. The advanced baggage handling system indicates the usage of new materials in the baggage belts that can reduce friction and thereby automatically decreases power consumption. Apart from the initial installation cost, the system is overall cost effective and simpler to handle. The success can be supported by the example of Etihad Airways that has carried 24.5 million bags each year across 8,500 scheduled passenger flights, has significantly reduced the mishandled bags by 20% and has closed cases of almost 90% mishandled baggage cases owing to the implementation of Bag journey (International Airport Review. 2018). 








Figure 4. Check in process (Source: Loskot and Ball, 2015)


From the above figure 3, the INT to DOM Transiting passenger flow the check-in process of the Luton airport can be understood. Looking at the traditional check in process it can be stated that the touch less kiosk being appointed at the check-in terminals is more convenient and secured as well.



Figure 5. Self-service kiosk (Source: International Airport Review, 2018)

The touch less self-service kiosks can significantly help in reducing congestion at the check in terminal and makes the check-in bag dispatching seamless for both the baggage staff and the passengers.

  1. Case study of Luton airport

Luton airport of UK has recently been successful in reducing the passenger check in times with the help of first touch less bag drop at the airport. Airport Technology (201) has mentioned that the new system has significantly streamlined and simplified the baggage check-in process (Alsyouf et al. 2018). Kim Kennedy the senior manager of Passenger services has commented that the organization is investing £ 110 million in order to transform the customer experience. 

The Luton self-service bag drop from Rockwell Collins is a two-step approach. In the first stage, the customers use their reference number to print a boarding card as well as for printing a tag. Once the baggage is tagged, the baggage is taken to the self-service kiosk and the bag is being dispatched automatically. Both the customers and staff have praised the new system and according to Airport Technology (2018) Luton have taken a significant step in order to enhance customer experience through increasing the processing speed. Due to the easier approach of the system, it has been easier for the ground staff to be more customers centric and proactive. In 2017 Daily Mail, other media articles identified the callousness of the baggage handlers at Luton airport and it affected the reputation of the airport as well. Therefore, self-service and the automatic baggage handling system can resolve the issue as well. The touch less T-series bag drop automatically detects the tag that is attached, whether the weight is correct or not and then it dispatches the bag automatically and it does not require the passenger to touch any button or screen. The Airport Systems Developer Rockwell Collins the pioneer of the touch less bag drop system at the airport has mentioned that the chief purpose of the Airport Systems is to enhance the travel experience of each passenger. 



  1. Research methodology

  1. Overview

This chapter of the study sheds light on the tools and techniques that have been used to understand the current and the future ways of transporting baggage to the airports. It is important to have a particular framework for a specific research. The framework used for the research has been discussed in the chapter that spaces up for further analysis and discussion of the obtained data. The systematic plan of the complete research procedure has been elaborately explained in the chapter in order to understand the validity of the data and the importance of selecting the chosen techniques for the research. In this section of the thesis, the time space and cost for implementing a system that can separate the baggage system from the customer is to be analysed, after understanding the current measures of Luton airport and the current trends in the baggage handling system in the previous chapter. Therefore, an end-to-end approach is considered in order to extend the baggage system beyond airport terminal. 

  1. Research type

A research can be conducted based on two types of data and that are primary data and secondary data. Selection of a specific data type depends on the nature of the research and the objectives and the research questions as well. For this particular study both primary and secondary research has been conducted. 

The chief reason for not discarding secondary research is the importance of understanding current trends in the baggage handling. Several researchers have pondered upon the possibility of redesigning airport terminals, which can be done with the help of separating the baggage system from the passengers. The required technology, design, resources and infrastructure have been comprehended from understanding of several contemporary changed design of baggage transportation processes used in upgraded airports like Luton. On the other hand, in order to understand the possibility of changing the baggage transportation system for better passenger experience primary research has been significant. 

  1. Research approach

Baggage handling system has been an integral part of the airport, but in order to reduce the congestion, it is important to identify a new system or suggest a new process for baggage transportation. The technological advancement needs to be utilized in order to make the baggage handling process more efficient. Therefore, it is important to select a particular research approach that can help in understanding how a new baggage transportation process can be followed in order to separate the baggage system from the passengers throughout their journey. As the study has focussed upon instances from the baggage transportation processes used by different airport in order to identify the possibilities for LLA to separate the baggage system from the passenger, inductive approach has been selected to be the appropriate research approach for the study. 

Inductive approach is important for the study as it provides the scope of establishing a new fact from the available examples. In this case instances of the different baggage transportation system are to be used in order to establish a new baggage transportation process that can be applied by LLA. 

  1. Research design

Selection of a particular research design requires close speculation of the chosen research approach. Aligning with the inductive research approach, exploratory research design has been selected. Exploratory research design provides the scope of a process-oriented research. Therefore, it has been considered to be appropriate in order to identify the possibility of moving the baggage processes away from the airport. 

  1. Data collection method

Data collection method varies with the type of the data that has been used in the course of the study. Data collection method is categorized in two segments and those are primary data collection method and secondary data collection method. As this study have utilized both types of data in order to attain the objectives of the study, primary and secondary both types of data collection methods have been utilized. 

For gathering, the primary data interview from the Luton airport baggage staff has been considered to be appropriate. On the other hand, in order to gather secondary data relevant internet sources have been considered along with recent SITA reports, journal articles on baggage system of airport and the patents of International Airport review. 

  1. Research strategy

Primary research has been conducted with the help of interview data collection strategy. A semi-structured interview is considered to be appropriate. In order to understand the current baggage transportation process and the new developments in the baggage handling by Luton airport, interviews have been conducted on the baggage staff of the airport. Along with gaining close insight of the baggage handling system used in the airport, the interview has also been helpful in understanding the impact of implementation of new baggage process models on the airport staff. As airport is an operational environment it is important to understand the challenges faced by the baggage handling staff. Identification of the challenges can help in suggesting the functional transitions, mitigations and contingency facilities. 

  1. Sampling method

  • Sampling technique

Purposive, stratified sampling has been used for selecting the respondents for the interview. The method of sampling has been used in order to select the particular respondents from the sample population (baggage staff of Luton airport) who can provide deeper insight into the futuristic baggage designing possibilities for the airport to move away the baggage handling system from the airport. 

  • Sampling population

Sample population is the baggage handling staff of Luton airport. As the case study that has been chosen for the research is that of Luton airport and the baggage handling staff of Luton airport can also provide necessary details regarding the impact of the implementing the technological advancement in the baggage handling process. 


  • Sampling size

10 staff members have been selected for the interview considering the time span and availability of respondents for the interview. 


  1. Flow chart

In order to understand the possibility of separating the baggage from the passengers and the time point of the operation, following process flow charts have been used. The passenger flow process can help in understanding the particular time point when the baggage can be separated from the passengers. The elements of the flow are associated with the existing practice of Luton airport. With the help of separated flow process, the stress points are to be identified as well as the potential bag drop locations in case of separating the baggage system from the passengers. 


Figure 6. Baggage transportation process (Source: Mallick et al, 2018)



  1. Flow drivers

There are certain factors that are to be treated as the chief parameters for assessing whether it is possible for LLA in near future to implement a baggage handling system that can separately operate the baggage from the respective passengers throughout their travel. The possible bag drop points are to be identified in terms of cost, time and space. 

  1. Data analysis technique

In order to obtain necessary results out of the findings and the collected data, it is important to rely upon a particular data analysis technique. The data analysis technique can be of three types and that are quantitative data analysis technique, qualitative data analysis technique and the mixed method of data analysis. Each of the data analysis techniques provides a particular manner of representing the analysed results. For the current study, mixed method of data analysis technique has been used. 

The interview answers are to be analysed using the qualitative data analysis technique. The particular technique has been selected as it provides ample scope of evaluating the perspectives of the respondents in an in-depth manner. On the other hand, the quantitative data analysis technique has been used in order to analyse the flow matrix in terms of the flow drivers. The scenarios have been selected based on the interviews and the different scenarios that the passengers across the Airports are usually subjected to. For the current context of the study, the scenarios have been considered for the entire course of the travel of the passengers that begins from their onset for the Airport in their residences to the reaching of the final destinations. This may be deemed to be appropriate considering that this travel window appears to be the most significant portion of the travel that is relevant with the current context of the study.

It is important to note that the baggage-transportation flow process needs to be analysed with the mixed method considering the parameters and the cost, time and space analysis of the system that LLA can utilize in order to separate the baggage from the passengers in recent years. Content analysis of the available designs regarding establishing separate baggage transportation for LLA has also been provided. 

  1. Ethical considerations

It is important to conduct a research, acknowledging the requisite ethical factors associated with the research. As primary research has been an important part of the research and interview has been involved, therefore, the confidentiality of the respondents has been taken into consideration. The answers provided by the respondents have not been manipulated or altered, in order to cater the requirements of the study. The secondary data that has been used are acknowledged and no data gathered from Luton airport baggage handling system has been used for commercial use but solely for the academic purpose of the research. The gathered data has been protected under the Data Protection Act of 1999. 



  1. Analysis

  1. Introduction

In this chapter, the findings have been summarized in accordance with the objectives and the research questions and the findings have been analysed closely in order to understand the future ways of baggage transportation that can help in taking the baggage handling system outside the terminal in order to utilize the terminal space. The chief purpose is to analyse and evaluate ways through which the baggage system can be dismantled from the passengers from home to destination. In this chapter, different case studies have been analysed in order to understand the current baggage handling trends that indicate separating baggage handling from the airport terminals. 

  1. Scenario analysis

  1. Scenario matrix of the flow drivers


Figure 7. Scenario matrix (Source: Self-developed)

Figure 8. Legend for the scenario matrix (Source: Self-developed)

  1. Scenario analysis

In this section, the 10 scenarios are illustrated in the matrix provided with the suitable weight -e flow. The color-coding enables the comprehension of the factors, which play the relevant role in the baggage separation prospect from the passenger. 

Scenario 1 - Home to 1st Transit Departure

As illustrated in the Scenario Matrix, it may be reasonable to state that the separation of the baggage from the passengers in the entire course of the commute from the Home of the Passenger to the first Transit does not appear as desirable. This is because of the cost-ineffectiveness associated with the ticket and passport control procedures. Additionally, the PAX convenience factors will also affect the appropriateness of this scenario, as in case of increased PAX on the baggage separation during the commute will make it difficult for the passenger to keep the track of his or her luggage.

Scenario 2 - Home to 2nd Transit Departure

Considering the fact that it will entail the traditional methods transportation of the baggage and luggage of the passengers from Home to the first Transit and then the separation of the luggage from the passengers must take place at the 2nd Transit Departure. This is observed to be a more hassled procedure to incorporate and is equally cost-ineffective for the passengers. However, it is comparatively less problematic in terms of PAX convenience and space that will be occupied. Nonetheless, it is still undesirable in comparison to the first scenario.

Scenario 3 - 1st Transit Departure to Baggage Building of Departing Airport

The major factors that affect the desirability of this scenario are the Cost and the PAX Convenience associated with the commute of the passengers from the 1st transit Departure to the Baggage Building of the Departing Airport. This is because the space of the commute will be a minimal factor considering the small distance that will be covered in this scenario. However, the PAX convenience will be a major factor as the passengers may have to wait for longer time to ensure the transfer of their baggage. Hence, it may be seen as the self-connection of the passengers with the luggage transportation.

Scenario 4 - 2nd Transit Departure to Baggage Building of Departing Airport

The scenario involves the linear transfer of the baggage within the Airport premises and involves re-check procedures of the luggage and the bags by the passengers. This is also observed to be an expensive procedure and offer inconvenience to the passengers which makes it a less suitable choice.

Scenario 5 - Baggage Building of Departing Airport to Baggage Building of Arrival Airport

This specific transfer of baggage from the Departing Airport point to the Baggage building of the Arrival Airport is affected greatly by the factors like cost, PAX convenience and Operational Flexibility. This scenario suits the Operational flexibility, as less amount of inconvenience is caused and is a comparatively more preferable scenario.

Scenario 6 - Baggage Building of Arrival Airport to first Transit Arrival

The separation of the baggage from the Arrival Airport to the first Transit Arrival indicates that Cost is not a governing factor, as it does not require additional payments from the passengers for the commute of the luggage and bags. The transportation charge is covered in the existing ticket and Airport charges. However, delays in the transportation may be caused in this scenario, which can lead to passenger inconvenience and is a comparatively less desirable scenario.

Scenario 7 - Baggage Building of Arrival Airport to second Transit Arrival

The scenario 7 is similar in its approach with scenario 6, except in the operational flexibility. This is substantiated by the fact that passengers will reach the second Transit Arrival, which will make the further bag transport responsibility of the passenger.

Scenario 8 - 1st Transit Arrival to Final Destination

The separation of the luggage and bags from the Passengers from the very first Transit level to the Final Destination is observed to affect majorly from the cost factor and has a great amount of practicality attached with this. This makes this scenario comparatively more desirable than the others do.

Scenario 9 - 2nd Transit Arrival to Final Destination

The extent to which the cost factor affecting the commute of the bags from the 2nd Transit Arrival to the Final Destination is similar to that of the previous scenario. There is a non-recognizable distinction between Scenarios 8 and 9, except in the operational flexibility.

Scenario 10 - Home to Final Destination Case study analysis

This scenario is the ideal scenario where the passengers will be free from luggage transportation and the third party will be responsible for the transportation of the luggage. However, this is expensive and effective Operational flexibility will be ensured that will facilitate the revenue generation along with customer satisfaction from the services offered.




START


                END

HomeTransit 1 DepartureTransit 2 DepartureBag Building DepBag Building ArrivalTransit 1 ArrivalTransit 2 ArrivalFinal Destination
HomeX12XXXX10
Transit   1 DepartureXXX3XXXX
Transit   2 DepartureXXX4XXXX
Bag   Building DepartureXXXX5XXX
Bag Building   ArrivalXXXXX
6


7X
Transit   1 ArrivalXXXXXX

8
Transit   2 ArrivalXXXXX

X9
Final   DestinationXXXXXXXX

Figure 9. Matrix of the overall flow process (self- developed)

Figure 10. Legend to flow matrix

  1. Separate baggage transportation

The most used and feasible process concerned with the separate baggage transportation is via the third-party forwarders. The variants of the new Airbus A350 and the aircraft have reported the volumetric and structural cargo payloads of up to 52 tons that is additional to the luggage and the passenger. The third-party forwarders consolidate the cargo and the average revenue in each kilogram of cargo delivery is calculated as follows: 


Equation 1


(6‑1)


CW1 < CW2 < . . . are cargo weights

TRF1 >TRF2 > . . . are the corresponding tariffs. The tariffs can be determined through bids for the available carrier capacity.

considering the possibility of baggage free travelling in future, it is important look at the regulation of IATA and the general conditions of carriage has indicated that the checked baggage is to be carried on the same aircraft along with the passengers, unless there is any preclusion. In that case, the carrier is to carry the luggage on carrier’s next flight that would depend on the availability of space. The implementation aspects of dissociating passenger travel and baggage delivery can be understood from the following equation that has been done considering the journey of a single passenger. 

  1. The point of origin of the passenger denoted as P (possibilities: passenger’s home, work place, a hotel)
  2. Passenger’s destination: a hotel or home in the return journey
  3. P leaves the origin at Tfor the departure at time T1P reaches destination at time Tafter (T2-T1) at flight. 
  4. The additional events that are associated with the times are E0, E1, Eand E3

E0, E1, E2 and E3  are occurring at times T0 + ∆T0, T1 + ∆T1, T2 + ∆T2 and T3 + ∆T3, respectively as per the figure below;


Figure 11. Time and events map (Source: Self-developed)


E0: Baggage being sent from the origin to departure airport

E1: Baggage being delivered to the airport 

E2: Baggage being delivered to the arrival airport 

 E3: Baggage being collected by the passenger

As far as the current system is concerned, passenger travel and the baggage delivery is conducted in synchronized manner, therefore, ∆Ti is 0, for all i= 0, 1,2, 3.

If the two systems are separated the events are likely to occur before or after the current corresponding times (i.e., ∆T≠ 0) and it implies that the new AT (Airport Transportation) system is more convenient and it can significantly improve the passenger experience. 

  1. Baggage delivery strategies

The conceptually simple factor of baggage delivery and passenger travel requires a complex implementation in practicality due to the constraint of the strict AT regulations and AT safety and security. It is important to consider the factor , that the complete process requires definition of the baggage ownership at all times (Loskot and Ball, 2015). Passenger travel includes three different segments and that are journey to and from the airport, the air travel between the departure and destination airport. As far as the passenger and baggage disassociation at the ground level is concerned, it is specific as it does not include the air travel. Therefore, it is possible that the third parties can provide a new travel service to deliver the passenger luggage to and from the airport. This implies services like AirPortr in which prior to departure; passengers only need to drop off their baggage at a decided collection point or a service can be arranged that can collect their baggage from suitable premises. The process is likely to enhance the passenger experience as passengers can travel without any hassle to the departure airport. At the destination airport, a third party can be assigned in order to provide a new delivery service for the baggage to the selected destination. The process is more likely to simplify the passenger travel from the airport. 

The complexity lies in the air-travelling segment. Within the air segment dissociation of the passenger and the baggage delivery is a complex procedure as it demands changes in the current operating system as well as the current airline, airport regulations and procedures. However, unlike the ground segment, in order to separate the passengers from the baggage at the air travel segment, technological feasibility and infrastructure are more suitable. The changes that are required are majorly related to the baggage handling and the logistics (Reece and Marinov, 2015). The aircraft optimization is possible with the consideration of an AT network segment that consists an original airport, a destination airport and a stopover airport. It is possible to arrange multiple stop over points, however, in this case the analysis is framed upon the scenario for a single stop over airport. 



Figure: 12. Origin, stopover and destination point mapping (Source Loskot and Ball, 2015)

As suggested by Loskot and Ball (2015) the model in the above figure can be optimized by the airports for baggage free travelling facility. If passengers (P) are travelling from the origin to a destination airport with ppassengers on the direct flight and the p= (P- p1) are stopover passengers. The corresponding baggage volume has been denoted as b = b1 + b2, and the cargo volume as c = c1 + c2. 

The passenger numbers are assumed as p1 and p2 on the respective flights and that are fixed. Provided possibility of disassociating the passengers and their baggage the goal is to optimize loading of each flight.

  1.    Luton airport

  1. Flow process analysis

    The existing baggage and the passenger flow typically at the check-in point the baggage is collected after the passengers dispatch them at the self-service kiosks. The baggage being tagged and passed the security checks at the security terminal is typically done as computer generated tags are affixed to the bags. The inconvenience that has been identified is associated with the checking baggage after the passengers disembark an aircraft in the destination point. The problem with the baggage transported separately from the passengers is largely associated with time. As it has been identified in case of Etihad airways, that provides separate baggage transportation service to the passengers. The passengers often have to wait at the baggage carousels for their baggage to reach. 

It is imperative to mention that the inclusion of a transfer airport between the arrival and the departure terminal is possible for Luton airport. In that case, the local means of transportation like bus, train or tube is required as the connector that connects the home and the destination airport. The possibility of a connector depends on the home and the destination point. For the international flights including such connector can be apparently difficult and expensive as well. Therefore, the process no longer remains cost-effective. 



Figure: 13. Luton DART service (Source: van Zyl et al, 2017)

From the above figure 8, the efficiency of the Luton DART service indicates that at the Luton Airport Parkway the baggage can also be collected through the DART service from the customers and it directly reaches the terminal from the Car park through which the passengers enter at terminal 1 directly.



Figure: 14. The flow process (Source: Yang and Santonio, 2016)

The figure illustrates the flow process that is followed once the passengers enter the first terminal. From the flow chart the process of the baggage flow and the passenger flow from the check in terminal to the destination can be understood. 

Therefore, the final phase of the baggage reconciliation with the passengers can be identified from the flow chart below:

Figure 15. Baggage reconciliation process (Source: Smahel, 2017)

  1. Discussions

  1. Introduction

From the interview with the baggage staff and the planners as well as the architects the possibility of further technological development of Luton airport has been identified. The chief findings in terms of the research objectives and the research questions have been summarized in the chapter. The recent technological implementation of LLA has been analysed in respect to Resolution 753 in order to identify the possibility of the airport of introducing a baggage transportation system moved out of the airport.

  1. Findings

  1. Digital luggage support developments in LLA

From the analysis of the baggage process in the previous chapter, the results of the new developments implemented in the airport in order to ensure ease of operation and enhanced satisfaction of the passengers, it can be stated the checking process and the security process offered by LLA indicates some of the best practices in the industry.

7.2.1.1 Check in process

  • Self-service bag drop

The revolutionary change in the check in process has been achieved by LLA with the implementation of touch less self-service check-in points at the terminal. The airport already had dart system that could separate the baggage from the passengers at the point of arrival at the airport. The city check-in practice has already proved to be beneficial for the airport as it reduced the traffic and allowed flexibility to the passengers at the time of travelling. Alsyouf et al. (2018) has identified that it has proved to be cost efficient for the airports as well. However, the chief problem that was largely associated with the city check in was the bag drop since it was uncertain for the passengers. With the help of on board dart Luton partially solved the problem earlier. However, with the help of AirPortr the baggage transportation can be easier. On the other hand, the self-check in process that has been introduced by the several US airlines have self-check-in process that allows the passengers with bags to check-in at the self-service kiosks with baggage. In case of Luton airport the baggage is separated from the passengers before they check in. At Luton airport the self-service bag drop has taken a step further with the implementation of the touch less T-Series bag drop process that has simplified the baggage check-in process.

  • Web check in

Another breakthrough that LLA has achieved in the check in process is the web check in facility. Online check in or the web check in available 36 hours before the departure and it has further simplified the check in process with focus on reducing time and queues at the airport. Online check in is more feasible to the passengers who are travelling without any heavy baggage as this provides the scope to the boarders of direct boarding right after security check. 

For implementing robots at the baggage drop off point, the customers can move towards self-service check in points after their baggage being moved at the check in point by the robots where through the touch less baggage system the baggage are to be checked and weighed. 

7.2.1.2 Security measures

The traditional security check process of the baggage and the passenger in Luton has become more proactive with the help of fast-track security passes. The pre-booking online of the fast track service saves queuing time. Once a passenger shows the fast track pass at the security the passenger is directed to the appropriate station and it helps the passengers to skip the airport rush hour. However, it is important to note that in 2018 the security restrictions have emphasized on improving the check point security at the airports with the help of 3D scanners. 

Therefore, from the technological implementation in the recent years suggest that, the digital luggage development is possible in the Airport. LLA has digitalized the check in and the security system. On the other hand, it has also invested in automating the baggage handling process with the help of touch less check in points that include baggage being checked and sorted without any baggage handling staff. Therefore, it can be stated that LLA can further improve their luggage transportation system from the dart services to the automated robots that can help in the digitalization of luggage handling of LLA.

  1. The challenges faced to satisfy the Resolution 753

IATA Resolution 753 came into effect in June 2018 and thus the airports got one year to comply with the standards in order to reduce the problem of baggage handling. In order to comply with the enforcements, airports have encountered significant challenges in terms of workforce management, incorporation of the necessary technological changes as well as changing the baggage handling procedure. From the interview with the baggage department staff of LLA that has been attached in the appendix, the possible challenges of that LLA might face can be evaluated. In this regard, it is important to note that the staffs have identified the problem removing the baggage facilities from the terminal into a logistic function building. The process according to the baggage staff is not convenient for the passengers. As far as the technological development of screening technology is concerned, LLA has already combined level 1 & 2 as well as level 3 & 4 screening technology and the airport had both the time and space that allowed them go through the challenge of technological change effectively. In order to comply with IATA Resolution 753, it has become mandatory for the airports to monitor both the acquisition and the delivery of the baggage in case of custody changes. The offloading process for the passenger reclaims and it has put extensive demand on the automatic tag reading (ATR). The challenge has also been dealt by LLA as they have installed the systems such as e-tags, Bag Tags and the automated touch less baggage handling system.

  1. Progress towards the baggage free travel

Currently the concept of baggage free travel has been partially fulfilled in LLA as the airport has started the construction of DART system that carries the passengers to the check in terminal from the Parkway station. However, the baggage staff could not indicate any possibility of direct transporting of the baggage as the airport is not looking forward to short haul and legacy long-haul interlining and could not specify whether the process can aggravate the transfer complexities. Therefore, although the airport has implemented Rockwell Collins’ Self Service Airport solutions and the new auto bag drop terminals have transformed the passenger experience, LLA does not have external systems like cargo transfer or aircraft transfer of the baggage. However, ARNIC Smart Bag has helped LLA to comply with IATA Resolution 753 and therefore, the customers can track their bags. As far as moving the baggage management system out of the airport is concerned, the airport baggage staff could not provide enough insight to such planning. The baggage free travel is possible if the passenger ships the baggage, as far as Luton is concerned. However,  LLA does not provide facilities like separate baggage shipment. 

  1. Technology

  1. Leo and automated robots

The automated robots for seamless baggage handling and minimizing the mishandling risks have been already introduced by SITA. Both SITA and BlueBotics have utilized the virtue of artificial intelligence and have built Leo. Leo has been designed to handle the bags and it has the ability to check in, print tags as well as transporting a single bag each time. The self-automated robot can be an option for decreasing the functional problems of manual baggage handling at Luton. 

Figure 16: Leo automated robot (Source: SITA, 2013)

On the other hand, application of such technology can be used at the bag dropping terminal of the Luton airport as identified in figure 14. Thus, the DART can be used by the automated robots and in this ideal scenario, the baggage can be dropped off by the passengers at the drop off point, after which the automated robots can pick up the baggage and transport them using the connector passage to the check-in terminal. This technological innovation has the capability to ensure mobility and space efficient as well as which can be effectively utilized in order to combat the current challenges that are faced by Luton. 

  1. Airportr service

 AirPortr, which is a London based luggage delivery service, has been designed to ensure same day luggage delivery. London Heathrow and Gatwick have already utilized the service. Luton can collaborate with AirPortr service in order to ensure that the baggages of the passengers are delivered to the destination. This service ensures bag free travelling for the passengers. The planned service can deliver the luggage of the passengers to the hotels, offices and the homes as addressed by the passenger. The facility can be availed by the passengers simply through online booking. If Luton collaborates with AirPortr the facility can be added in their airport services where they can take the initiative to conduct booking for passengers and the automated robots can drop the bags at the booth. This service is secure with its tracking feature that allows the passengers to track the location of their baggage with the help of mobile GPS. 

  1. Touch less self-service kiosk

The T-series bag drop at the Luton airport can significantly minimize the complexity of the check in process that is used traditionally. The touch less bag drop has been designed to automatically detect the tag that is attached and dispatches the bag after checking the weight. In this case, the passenger or the service staff do not need to touch the screen or any button. Another important feature of the Touch less self-service facility is that, it has audio prompts for the visually impaired passengers. However, the touch less bag drop solution is inside the terminal and although it has managed to provide a simplified baggage check-in process, the baggage handling system could not be moved out of the check-in terminal. Therefore, the terminal space is not completely free to be utilized for other services. However, it has managed to streamline the process and thus it through the installation space problem at the check in terminal could be resolved to certain extent.   

  1. Payment kiosks

Luton airport is looking forward to introducing the self-service payment kiosks as well for payments at the check in terminal. It is developed along with the touch less self-service kiosks and designed in a manner that can accept payments for additional services. 

  1. Convenience of the passenger

It has already been identified that in order to increase the level of travel experience of the passengers, it is necessary to provide the passengers several choices. Therefore, for the convenience of the passengers it is important to provide them the choice so that they can select the process of their baggage handling. As per the 2016 Passenger Survey report of SITA it could be identified that 55% of the passengers use technology and 85% of the passengers are satisfied with the experience (Airport Technology. 2018). As IATA resolution 753 has emphasized on the enhanced customer experience and thus it is important for Luton airport to invest into self-service facilities at the check in points in order to enhance customer experience. Therefore, with the initiative of Luton installing the touch less self-service kiosks and the payment kiosk at the check in terminal the process is going to become more seamless as the complications of the multiple operators handling bags have been replaced with a more centralized baggage handling system. 

The AirPortr services and the baggage dropping services can further help passengers to move without the bags that indicate passengers can travel freely. On the other hand, with the help of self-tracking baggage facilities available the passengers can also track their baggage as well. Although such facilities are available it is important to note that the tracking facility with the inbuilt bag tags and the e-tags has been available to limited number of passengers as the passengers who travel frequently are members of the blue tag system of the airport (Yang and Santonino, 2016). On the one hand, it indicates the feasibility of availing the option of blue tags for the passengers. However, in order to keep more passengers under the facility, it is important for the airport to take the initiative to provide more membership options for different types of travellers. 

  1. FLEET

Vanderlande has designed FLEET that has been one of the evolutionary baggage handling designs of contemporary times. The chief purpose of FLEET is to provide a future proof baggage logistics. The design has utilized intelligent autonomous vehicle technology and its success lies in its capability of replacing the conveyors and the sorting systems that make the baggage handling process at airport more complex as Camilleri (2018) has mentioned. 

Figure 17. FLEET (source: Vanderlande)

The automatic vehicles can carry a single bag individually and determines the optimal route through an airport. The energy consumption of FLEET is also 50% as compared to the traditional baggage handling system. The design aligns with the environmental guidelines of the industry as well due to its less power consumption it can be recycled. As per Vanderlande FLEET has the credential to offer end to end solution for baggage transportation service at airports. 

  1. Security measures

One of the chief challenges of the aviation industry is to align with the security concerns and it has further emerged the need of initiate advanced scanning infrastructure that cannot be breached easily. As far as the Drop and Go concept is concerned that is more convenient for the passengers, EDS system is used along with two ETDs for the alarm resolution (Lykkegaard et al. 2015). The requisites of the system are more likely to be installed as the system requires less staff with baggage being screened at a Central place, this configuration with the TSA system for unlocking the baggage in order to meet the requirement for physical inspection, is mostly used in the airports of US. However, Luton airport offers a fast track service that can be booked online and it helps in saving the time of security checks at the airport. The mandatory checking points can be identified from the following figure 11.

Figure: 18. IATA suggested mandatory tracking points (Source: International Airport Review, 2018)


  1. Time and Space

  • Time

The technological counterfeits that have been identified in terms of replacing human labour significantly help in reducing the time. To be specific it can be stated that, the automated robots handling the baggage and transporting the baggage from the drop off point to the baggage terminal is more feasible in terms of time. Considering the ideal scenario of check in as suggested by the author that implies use of robots for baggage handling instead of dart services, touch less self-service check in and use of cargo aircrafts for sending the baggage to the destination after the arrival of the passengers would save 89% less time at the primary process (Yang and Santonino, 2016).

·Space

With the implementation of automated robots and the self-check in process, it is possible to save 58% space at the peak hours as the conventional baggage handling system is being replaced (Yang and Santonino, 2016).

Figure 19. Reduction of time and space (Source:Yang and Santonio, 2016)


  1. Implications and recommendations

The dissociation of the baggage delivery for the air travel part can be done without minimum challenges by minimum number of stop over airports. It is important to note that all baggage needs to be delivered on the direct flights between the airport hubs and baggage delivery on the flights. Delivering the baggage over the flights with minimum number of stop over airports helps in relieving the baggage load congestion and thus it also needs to be considered the importance of selecting the baggage route. Route baggage over the direct flights needs to be chosen whenever possible and most importantly when the destination airport is a large air travel hub. 

The suggested dissociation of passenger travel and the baggage delivery is directly associated with the IATA. The chief objective of separating the baggage from the passengers over the whole journey can be conducted by simplifying and automating the processes along with minimizing the response time. Baggage separation from the passengers can be routed more directly to the destination that indicates streamlining of the delivery at the AT networks. It can be highly suggested that airports like Luton can collaborate to deliver the baggage several times a day, with the help of dedicated cargo flights, at least at the major airport hubs. 

The airlines and the airports can select the delivery of the baggage to and from the airports with the help of support delivery baggage and it is suggested to simplify the check-in process to a large extent. Baggage dissociation will encourage new aircraft designs. The passenger only aircrafts would be faster to load and unload and can accommodate more passengers as well. Thus, baggage free journey can be a promising step in order to establish a more sustainable future Air transport.

  1. Conclusion

  1. Summary

The aim of the study was to understand and analyse the baggage flow process and how it can be implemented in city bag drop process and further identify the advantages of moving the baggage handling process out of the terminal building. It is a relative exaggeration to mention that the fundamental aim of the study is to introspect and analyse how the baggage and cargo system of the airport management system can be separated utilizing the space for further accommodations of the passenger. In this regard, the current suite has been able to provide several simulated scenarios which might assist the contemporary airport system to accomplish a circumvent baggage transfer system. In order to derive that, it is a relative exaggeration to mention that, the apprehensions of the study happens to be framed upon the corollaries of Luton London Airport (LLA) case study. Furthermore, this study has been able to suggest the separation of the cargo transfer system from the airport system through simulated frameworks and algorithms.

In order to embark on such a disintegrated baggage system, the study happens to consult several critical renditions in the course of accomplishing such zenith. In this regard, the study also embarks into several comparative assessment of the integrated baggage transfer system along with the old school baggage transfer system. In this course of study, the solutions provided by the study happen to suggest a baggage transfer system which the passengers will avail immediately after reaching the destination. 

  1. Limitations

The suggested implementation strategy is critical as it indicates combating significant challenges. The chief challenge associated with the dissociation of baggage is the security, as it requires involvement of the third party. The limitations of the particular study lies in the fact that, the interview with the baggage staff provided limited information regarding the possibility of having a baggage transportation system completely separated from the airport. The concept has not been into much practice which has been a major challenge in understanding its feasibility with Luton airport.

8.3 Further study

The growth of terminal facilities impacts the travel flow and the role of the different stake holders in the industry. As study should be done to check the level of shift from one stakeholder to other in future with the upgraded technologies in practice that could potentially give an understanding of how the air travel has  evolved with time. A further investigation into the removing of baggage handling out of the terminal should be done so that it can be accessed from the point of passenger satisfaction and willingness to accept the change. There will be a constant push and pull between the passengers and service providers when it comes to baggage may it be due to cost-benefit or security. 


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