On the right track

London Stansted Airport’s new £70m BHS became operational earlier this year, ahead of schedule and under budget. Steve Radford, head of baggage and security engineering, tells Tara Craig about it

Stansted’s new state-of-the-art baggage handling system (BHS) is the largest upgrade to the airport’s baggage network since the London terminal opened in 1991.

Head of baggage and security engineering Steve Radford explained that the airport embarked on a 25-year strategy on baggage in 2015, with the help of US firm BPI Associates. They looked at the airport’s operating profile and factors such as lack of space back of house. They then weighed up the pros and cons of traditional final sorters and independent carrier systems (ICS]), before opting for the latter – primarily, Radford said, for its extra scalability and flexibility.

“If you think that a [traditional] baggage sorter has a fixed number of trays – say, 500 – if you put a single bag on the sorter, 500 trays have to move. The system moves in the same way whether it is fully loaded or unloaded. With an ICS, when a bag is put into the system, only one part of that system needs to move,” he explained.

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