Airport / 29 September 2015

Disruption not an option

One of the biggest challenges we face as a baggage handling solution provider is how to perform major system upgrades/installations in busy hub airports. With so many areas of the baggage handling system potentially being worked on at a given time, how do you avoid disruption and delays to passengers?

What’s more, by definition, baggage handling systems are working at full capacity already when they are earmarked for an upgrade, and baggage handling can be one of the most stressful experiences that passengers have to go through during their travels. Just imagine having a missing  piece of luggage when arriving at your destination airport!

Our experience shows us that all new systems should be thoroughly trialled first and then shut down in stages if possible to avoid a complete stoppage.

A good example of minimising disruption in this kind of situation was our upgrade of the baggage handling system at Düsseldorf Airport. Düsseldorf handles around 22 million passengers per year and is the third largest airport in Germany so the stakes were high.

The upgrade work had to be completed during live operations with minimum disruption and no downtime. We were also asked to supply detailed contingency plans in case anything went wrong during the installation.

The original sorter was installed in a two-tier configuration which leant itself well to running the project in two-stages.  The upper sorter could be removed and replaced whilst the lower sorter continued to operate and vice versa. Implementing the project in this way not only saved the airport a lot of money in temporary installations but meant it could continue to function well with minimal disruption to its passengers. 

About the Author

Christoph Oftring
Christoph Oftring

For two decades, Christoph Oftring has been responsible for sales, design and project management of baggage handling system installations in a number of major international airports around the world. In this blog, Oftring looks ahead and discusses future baggage handling concepts and technologies for existing and green field airports.

Leave a Comment


Suggested Item


In early January, we had the pleasure of welcoming many new employees in our company. The "Onboarding @ BEUMER" programme gives the new colleagues the opportunity to become...


12 January 2016