The IABSC October meeting was held via Zoom and drew a large audience to the discussion of baggage contingency operations and critical infrastructure planning.
Southwest Airlines Director, Jeremy King, shared his concerns about the ineffectiveness of current contingency plans and illustrated some of the extraordinary efforts required by airline staff to make sure bags and passengers make the same flight during irregular operations.
Rick Weaver from Southwest Airlines Airport Security Operations provided a presentation outlining focus areas for contingency planning and implementation, then moderated a lively audience discussion on baggage handling system contingencies, followed by questions & answers.
Airbiz Director, Kerr Lammie, provided a presentation demonstrating the roll of baggage handling systems as critical aviation infrastructure; outlined the differences between how baggage handling systems are treated during planning and design in the US vs. internationally; and provided a glimpse into what airports and critical aviation infrastructure may look like in the future.
Key takeaways from these presentations and discussions included:
- Baggage handling systems are critical aviation infrastructure second only to the structural system of the building. If thought of as part of the critical process of moving passengers with their baggage, they may be more visible in planning and design.
BHS subject matter experts need a seat at the table early in program development.
- Current contingency plans were not robust enough to handle pre-COVID baggage volumes and are inadequate for the future.
- Baggage Handling Systems impact more than just baggage. Staffing, aircraft on-time performance, and Customer Satisfaction are also impacted.
- BHS subject matter experts need a seat at the table early in program development.
- Contingency planning is more often included when the Total Cost of Ownership is a driving consideration.
- Automation will shape future airports and the baggage processing within them.