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IBM and Vanderlande Industries Sign Agreement for Baggage System at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport


Contract will enable airport to minimize baggage delays and lost bags, keeping pace with global travelers.

AMSTERDAM. IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Vanderlande Industries today announced the signing of a four-year contract with Amsterdam Airport Schiphol for a smart baggage handling system to speed up the transfer process for bags bound for connecting flights. The IBM contract value is 24.5 million euro.

Schiphol serves the third largest international air travel market in the world and is one of Europe’s largest airports with over 40 million passengers a year. As a major transfer hub, about 40% of Schiphol passengers change flights at the airport. At peak travel periods, more than 52,000 pieces of transfer baggage are handled at the airport each day.

In 2008, lost baggage cost airlines an estimated $3.8 billion globally, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). A recent IATA study showed that between 2005 and 2007, the number of mishandled bags increased three times faster than passenger growth in Europe and the United States.

Vanderlande Industries and IBM will design and build a system that enables transfer luggage to move quickly between all of the airport’s baggage handling areas. The objective is to almost double baggage handling capacity and improve passenger satisfaction, while significantly reducing the handling cost per bag. The system will control and track each bag using state-of-the-art high availability techniques, analytics and robot handling software. A high speed conveyor belt will transfer bags to connecting flights.

The new project is part of Schiphol’s aim to have the capability of transferring 70 million pieces of baggage a year. In 2004, Schiphol signed an agreement with IBM and Vanderlande Industries to design and build an earlier extension to the baggage handling facility.

An integrated system already connects the airport’s baggage control and sorting systems with passenger check-in and real-time flight arrival and departure information. The solution automates the process of luggage tracking and reconciling passengers with their bags. It also provides information and metrics to monitor baggage handling performance, helping to quickly resolve issues and identify areas for improvement.

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has already realized:

* A drop in the number of delayed or misplaced bags.
* A substantial saving in operational costs through enhanced workload management and decision support.
* A faster resolution of issues through the provision of accurate, up-to-date information.

Vanderlande Industries and IBM have a proven working relationship at several airports around the world. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, together with Vanderlande Industries and IBM, aims to ensure that the airport will supply the right bag, at the right place, at the right time, through the use of a durable and robust baggage handling process.

“With this state-of-the-art baggage transport system, known as the Backbone, we will be able to manage the future growing stream of passengers and baggage,” says Mark Lakerfeld, Manager Baggage Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. “Together with IBM and Vanderlande we will implement a baggage system that meets the highest quality standards.”

“Thanks to this smart baggage handling system, the transfer time for passengers at Schiphol Airport will be significantly reduced and the number of missing or delayed bags will drop even further. The system will help the airport to improve operational efficiency by managing different baggage handling areas as one,” says Hans Deijkers, Partner Travel & Transport for IBM Benelux.

“This order not only physically connects all of Schiphol’s handling areas, but also integrates the entire airport’s baggage system control software. As such it is an important part of the airport’s strategic 70 Million Bags program to create an efficient, reliable and fast baggage handling process. It will support Schiphol’s mission to become the preferred airport in Europe and to maintain its mainport function,” states Michiel Peters, President & CEO Vanderlande Industries.

IBM has extensive expertise in baggage handling solutions and is involved in several other projects with Schiphol Airport and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines through its Baggage Center of Excellence in Amsterdam. The Center provides baggage management systems globally.

The new contract was signed in November 2009.


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