Aberdeen International airport

Modernising the gateway to Europe

Aberdeen International airport has played a pivotal role in the social and economic development of North East Scotland for the past 80 years.

As part of the ambitious 30-year Master Plan launched in 2012, the BAA-owned operation announced plans to invest in significant capital projects including a £13million terminal development scheme, additional aircraft parking and taxiways and further runway expansion.

In June 2013 we were approached by the airport to expand the existing baggage handling system to accommodate additional check-in desks.

Our role, led by baggage handling expert Peter Smith, included the production of detailed baggage design solutions and technical User Requirement Documentation (URD), preparation of tender documents, and the appointment of a baggage handling company to undertake the work. We also carried out on-site supervision followed by rigorous testing to ensure the system was 100 per cent failsafe prior to handover in March 2014.

Maximising space potential

Working in partnership with baggage handling contractors Daifuku Logan, the main challenge was to expand the existing system within the confines of a small and restricted baggage hall.

Peter Smith, design project manager, IPM, explained: “Because the baggage handling system is so compact we had to ensure that in adding additional desks we maintained the passenger and airline operators experience and expectation of services.”

The existing system currently processes around10 bags per minute with this expected to increase to 15 bags under the new system.

Peter added: “The new system will process bags at a rate of up to 15 bags per minute through 23 check-in desks. These bags are then routed to the existing system via a series of queue and junction conveyors to the two standard X-ray screening machines.

The bags are then processed via the screening protocols to the make-up carousel.

 “Due to the space constraints we had to ensure all the junctions worked efficiently to avoid any disruption which would prevent the airline processing the bag and ultimately incur penalty costs.”

Facts for Interest

  • Aberdeen International Airport is ranked the third busiest airport in Scotland serving 3.5million passengers in 2013.
  • Prior to opening in 1934 the airport was used as a Spitfire airplane base. Some of the original infrastructure can still be seen in aerial photographs.
  • The airport is the busiest commercial heliport in the world with three helicopter terminals.
  • Recent developments include the 124 metre extension to the main runway, a new covered international walkway a £5 million parking deck and a resurfacing project.