Heathrow Baggage Handling System

London Heathrow is the world’s busiest international airport and hub of the civil aviation world. Over 67 million passengers travel through the airport annually on services offered by 90 airlines travelling to over 180 destinations in over 90 countries. By the time Heathrow airport celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2006, it had handled around 1.4 billion passengers on over 14 million flights.

The start of operations at Terminal 5 in March 2008 marked the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Heathrow. Future developments include the construction of Terminal 2A to replace Terminals 1 and 2 and the redevelopment of Terminals 3 and 4. (source: heathrow.com)

IPM, a company of Royal HaskoningDHV, is a key player in Heathrow Airport’s expansion, providing highly skilled project management and baggage handing services in a live environment.

Between 2007 and 2011 IPM worked with BAA on Heathrow’s £270m Post Terminal 5 Transfer Baggage System (PT5TBS) project, to create a 2.1km network of underground baggage tunnels beneath the world’s busiest international airfield.

The tunnels, which link Terminals 5, 3 and 1, contain a DCV track system comprising 960 carts capable of transporting a single item of luggage at speeds of up to 32 km/h. The tunnels provide cross campus connectivity to the world's largest integrated baggage system.

IPM’s project management skills were key to the successful delivery of the project ahead of the crucial deadline trigger date.

The completed PT5TBS underground baggage system will go on to play an integral role in Heathrow's broader focus on baggage handling systems, anticipating further investment of £900m and the handling of 110 million bags annually.

IPM CEO Sandy McIver is extremely proud of IPM’s role in the project. Sandy comments: “To give some scale to the size of the challenge, about 250 services needed to be negotiated. This included Heathrow Express, London Underground's Piccadilly Line and the airport's fuel farm, as well as engaging with 150 stakeholders.

“Key aspects of our role involved developing options, compiling briefs and board papers, as well as obtaining stakeholder buy-in and financial approvals. This culminated in testing, commissioning and final handover from the construction arm of Ferrovial Agroman the world's leading private investor in transportation infrastructures, in autumn 2011.

“Our success with complex airport projects such as Heathrow PT5TBS, is due to our ability to align our clients’ objectives with delivery teams, and by removing financial waste from projects to ensure our clients achieve best value for money.

“On the strength of our project management expertise, IPM was awarded a further project integration contract for the £360m Heathrow T3IB expansion.”

Adding value - saving money

IPM was instrumental in assessing the opportunity and risk of removing the tunnel fit out between T3 and T1, saving in the region of £70m.

“We also developed an interim collaborative project solution with third parties in terms of implementing the new and evolving BAA baggage process and responsibility assignment matrix (RACI)”, Sandy continues. “This reduced BAA’s exposure to costs and counter-productive diversions for the construction team. We achieved a 20 per cent reduction in costs against the original budget with an agreement to target further savings. Our management of procurement and specialist systems also saved BAA in the region of £2m.”

IPM organised and managed the design for manufacturing and assembly (DfMA) workshops. This meant early involvement of the supplier’s pre-contract commitment to enlist their best ‘build-ability’ advice, thus avoiding untimely redesign costs and /or programme delays later on in the project. IPM also facilitated team building workshops to improve the integration team’s performance and to align and integrate the respective work package execution plans.

IPM also ensured integrated planning between client, main contractor, baggage and specialist system suppliers. IPM’s knowledge and contacts within Heathrow Airport operations also ensured the correct level of compromise was agreed between BAA and Ferrovial.

Project scope

  • Delivery of a 2.1km baggage transfer tunnel linking Terminals 5, 3 and 1.
  • Baggage system with a capacity of 3,000 bags per hour between T5 and T3, utilising DCV system.
  • All associated tunnel services, IT, fire strategy and operation re-assessed for this new configuration.
  • Interface facility at T5.
  • Western Interface Building that brings the DCV to ground is incorporated into the T3 integrated baggage facility. Includes above ground DCV cart unload and load facilities, empty cart storage.
  • Western Interface Building built in advance of remainder of T3 building to maintain programme.
  • Eastern Interface Building basement with re-provision of pier served stand above.

Contact us

Sandy McIver

Business Development Director

London, UK

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