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Improving baggage handling using digital technology

How can one of the world's busiest airports make better decisions for its 72 million passengers?

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Heathrow Airport is able to better manage its baggage handling because of an Arup project that combined digital expertise with our deep knowledge of the aviation industry.

A new era of baggage handling

Each year, over 80 airlines fly from Heathrow to over 180 locations worldwide, carrying over 72 million passengers and 1.4 million tonnes of cargo. One of Heathrow’s key priorities from 2014 to 2018 is improving operational performance and asset replacement, including how they manage baggage handling for these millions of passengers.

Digital expertise design more efficient baggage handling

We were able to combine the operational model with new information architecture to enable better strategic decision making, with a connected view of the people, the processes and the technology.

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Capturing the whole picture

The first phase of the project focused on creating a blueprint that defined Heathrow’s existing structure and operation. We looked at the whole operation from end to end, mapped out every stage and captured that in a single model. This meant everyone involved was able to make better decisions at every stage because of the new level of information available to them.

Data analytics improving baggage handling at Heathrow

Seamless from start to finish

In the second phase of the project, we worked with Heathrow to analyse what was needed for seamless baggage operation. Together we were able to propose real process improvements that will streamline the operation.

I was really pleased with the approach you took, particularly around linking the recommendations to some of the outcomes of the Resilience report. […] I was really impressed with the quality of thinking and the way you presented it.”

Sally Jenner

Business Changer Leader, Heathrow Baggage

Using information architecture to design better baggage handling

A long-term vision for better decisions

The first phase of the project was based on an ‘As-Is’ model. Now, Arup is working with Heathrow on a ‘To-Be’ programme, which will be aimed at increasing efficiency and having a positive impact on the passenger experience.

Heathrow is now able to provide detailed insights to airlines, baggage handlers, managers and passengers.

This will not only significantly improve the airport’s flow and capacity – it will also provide greater certainty at every stage, delivering long term analysis that will result in better strategic decisions.

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Fiona Cousins - Arup Digital Leaders
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Fiona Cousins

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+1 212 896 3000 New York, local time - 16:56pm

Greg Stone
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Greg Stone

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+61 (0) 2 9320 9320 Sydney, local time - 7:56am

Clement Chung - Arup Digital Leaders
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Clement Chung

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+852 2528 3031 Hong Kong, local time - 4:56am

Mark Chown - Arup Digital Leaders
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Mark Chown

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+34 (0) 91 523 9276 Madrid, local time - 22:56pm

Alan Newbold - Arup Digital Leaders
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Alan Newbold

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+44 (0) 20 7636 1531 London, local time - 21:56pm