Two more awards for the Schiphol’s innovative South Baggage Hall

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, IBM and Vanderlande Industries were honoured once again with awards for the innovations applied to Schiphol’s South Baggage Hall. On 11 October the innovation prize was awarded during the Inter Airport Europe trade exhibition in Munich for the ‘baggage on demand’ concept (a pull concept). Just a few days before, the threesome also won the Computable Award for the ICT Project of the Year in the Public Sector, a prize awarded yearly by readers and a professional jury of Computable magazine.

Earlier this year, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol was awarded the 2011 IT Project of the Year Award by IT Management magazine and the ICT Academy. These various distinctions mark the innovative cooperation between these three parties, which have been engaged in developing solutions to better and more efficiently accommodate the growing baggage volumes of the future.

The South Baggage Hall was taken into operation in March of this year and represents an expansion of the airport’s baggage handling infrastructure. Schiphol’s modern new baggage hall is also the first in the world to integrate innovative applications.

Baggage on demand concept (a pull concept)

One of those innovative applications, aimed at making the baggage process more efficient and reducing the physical strain on workers, is a new method for handling baggage, called the ‘baggage on demand concept’ (a pull concept). This method uses a fully automated baggage buffer that can temporarily store up to 4,200 bags and feed them in batches to six baggage robots that then load the bags into containers or carts. Equally advanced applied ICT systems ensure that every baggage item in the system can easily be traced. Additionally, the system provides continually updated process information and codes with which to monitor the baggage handling process.

70 million bags

The South Baggage Hall is part of the 70MB programme at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. This Schiphol investment programme aims to build airport baggage handing capacity to 70 million annually in future, with particular emphasis on baggage belonging to transfer passengers; the airport currently handles 50 million bags annually. Innovation is a key part of this programme.

Schiphol makes this baggage infrastructure and systems available to airport handlers and airlines, which are responsible for getting baggage to and from the aircraft.

Vanderlande Industries

Vanderlande Industries was commissioned by Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to develop and implement automatic loading and unloading systems, along with the services required to facilitate this process. A world market leader in baggage handling, the company focuses on the implementation and maintenance of a wide range of loading and unloading systems of all sizes, from local sorting depots, airports and distribution centres to the largest systems in the world.


IBM develops software and middleware at Schiphol, as well as applications and other ICT infrastructure. Aside from helping to maximise the efficiency of system capacity in the South Baggage Hall, IBM software is also used to send the baggage to the right connecting flights and to provide in-depth insight into the baggage flow.