Vanderlande and Avinor Join Forces to Explore Last-Mile Baggage Automation

Aug. 29, 2023
Vanderlande will supply its BAGLOAD solution for integrated robot loading and its FLEET Batch solution for the transportation of ULDs. These solutions will be trialed at Oslo Gardermoen Airport in Norway.

Veghel, 29 August 2023 – Vanderlande and airport operator Avinor have formed an innovation partnership (IP) to explore ways of fully automating the last mile of the baggage handling process.

Vanderlande will supply two innovative solutions – BAGLOAD for integrated robot loading and FLEET Batch for the transportation of ULDs. These solutions will be trialed at Oslo Gardermoen Airport in Norway. The ultimate goal of this partnership is to enhance the efficiency and reliability of baggage handling, benefiting the airport industry as a whole.

Avinor received funding of around NOK 15 million (€1.3 million) after Innovation Norway selected its project proposal. The airport operator chose Vanderlande as its technology partner through a tender process, and the newly formed IP runs from August 2023 to November 2024. The two organizations have a long history of partnership, dating back to 1994 when Vanderlande supplied Oslo Gardermoen Airport’s first baggage handling system (BHS).

The goal of the IP is to automate a part of the baggage handling process that has remained unaltered for more than 50 years. The unloading of luggage from the BHS on to containers bound for the aircraft is currently a labor intensive and costly operation. According to Avinor, about 50% of costs related to baggage handling are incurred through these last-mile activities.

The first phases of the IP will take place at Vanderlande’s testing facilities in Veghel, The Netherlands, and involves further developing and prototyping the technologies according to the project brief. From September 2024, the two products will be subject to a three-month trial at Oslo Airport, where Avinor has built a dedicated project test center. This facility is connected to the BHS, so assessments will be undertaken in a truly “live” environment.

“The main objective of our IP is to increase the efficiency of the baggage handling process while removing repetitive heavy lifting duties currently undertaken by baggage handlers,” says Ole Petter Storstad, director of technology and infrastructure at Avinor. “We’re excited to work with Vanderlande, whose current level of technology provides us with confidence that a viable solution can be developed and rolled out across the entire industry.

“We’re delighted to be partnering Avinor in this ambitious project, and I believe their choice is recognition of our strong focus on automating the end-to-end baggage handling process,” says Andrew Manship, Vanderlande’s executive vice president airport and parcel solutions and board member. “The collaboration will supercharge our development work, and a successful outcome will benefit the airlines, handling companies and all individuals currently engaged in difficult manual work.”