Airport Baggage Sorting

A customer called to ask, "In airport logistics, more and more automated conveyor lines are being used, but there is still a lot of investment in manpower, is there any way to further reduce costs and increase efficiency?

Figure 1: Baggage Check In

Many people will be very confused: the object of airport logistics is mainly the luggage and parcels which have different shapes and different materials, is there any more advanced method other than manual handling?
Of course! In airport logistics, there are mature solutions for baggage sorting and parcel sorting. Here, let's take a look at the current status of airport baggage sorting.

Airport Checked Baggage

We will use suitcases to pack luggage when traveling, different journeys will choose to bring different sizes of luggage, common luggage sizes are: 17 inch, 19 inch, 21 inch, 22 inch, 24 inch, 28 inch, 30 inch, 32 inch, etc..

Figure 2: Family Trip

Carry-on, is a backpack, large tote, suitcase or suitcase that you can take with you, which is normally 17-21 inches (some airlines also have weight limits on carry-on items). Checked baggage, is a large suitcase or large piece of luggage that passengers cannot carry on the plane by themselves and must check in.

Airport Passenger Throughput

First, let's look at the passenger throughput for the world's busiest airports in recent years.


NO.1 Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, Atlanta, USA/Atlanta, 107.39 million passengers.

NO.2 Beijing Capital International Airport, China/Beijing, 100.98 million passengers.

NO.3 Dubai International Airport, UAE/Dubai, 89.15 million passengers.


NO.1 Atlanta International Airport in the United States, with a passenger throughput of 110,531,000, a terminal area of 630,000 square meters, 299 aircraft slots, and five runways.

NO.2 Beijing Capital International Airport, with a passenger throughput of 10.013 million, a terminal area of 1.41 million square meters, 314 aircraft slots, and three runways.

Figure 3: Beijing Capital International Airport

NO.3 U.S. Los Angeles International Airport, with a passenger capacity of 88,060,800 passengers, a terminal area of 190,000 square meters, 245 aircraft slots and a total of four runways.


NO.1 Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, reached 43,767,600 passengers in 2020, which is 40.4% lower compared to 73,934,800 passengers in 2019.

Figure 4: Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport

NO.2 Atlanta International Airport, a 4F-class international airport in the U.S., finished 2020 with 42,918,700 passengers, down 61.2% year-over-year compared to 2019 throughput.

NO.3 Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, a 4F-class international aviation hub, finished 2020 with 40,741,500 passengers, down 27.1% year-over-year.Single-day. 

Baggage Exceeds 90,000 Pieces

What would be the volume of passenger baggage to be handled at a major airport that is so busy?

Taking the situation before the outbreak of epidemic as an example, on January 19, 2020, the 10th day of the Spring Festival, Guangzhou Baiyun Airport picked up nearly 240,000 passengers that day, with a sharp increase in the number of passengers and baggage in the morning peak. 10 days before the 2020 annual Spring Festival (1/10-1/19), Baiyun Airport picked up over 2.24 million passengers, an increase of over 9% year-on-year, with a daily average of 224,000 passengers.

Figure 5: Busy logistics

Compared with previous years, this year's Spring Festival passengers brought more luggage, since the Spring Festival, the average daily handling of passenger checked baggage in more than 80,000 pieces. January 18 exceeded 90,000 pieces, reaching 90,155 pieces, the most single-day checked baggage, compared to last year's highest single-day handling volume increased by 11%.

Strengths And Weaknesses Of Airport Logistics

With the birth of mega airports and the airport's passenger throughput constantly breaking higher records, the reception capacity of airport related facilities must be upgraded one step ahead.

Those who fly more often should have the experience that after getting off the plane, baggage claim no longer seems to take as long as it did in previous years, and you can see your baggage at the baggage arrival desk soon.

Figure 6: Baggage Trolley And Automated Conveyor Line

Why is the waiting time less when the baggage volume has become bigger? The reason is the automated baggage system helps.

Large-scale airports are basically equipped with airport baggage systems that connect the terminals, hotels and transportation centers. It makes the sorting and long-distance transportation of baggage easy and intelligent.

Figure 7: Baggage Arrival

With the airport baggage system, passengers' checked-in baggage, through the manual check-in counter or self-service check-in counter, can enter the conveyor belt and be sorted to the correct flight; after the plane arrives, the baggage can again arrive at the scheduled baggage claim through the baggage system. The check-in procedure is quite convenient. At the same time, this intelligent equipment can accurately complete the sorting and delivery of all baggage.

However, the loading and unloading operation of this baggage system is still completely manual effort at present. In other words, when the passengers deliver the baggage, the connecting work of baggage transferring from the conveyor belt to the turnover trolley is done by manual effort; when the passengers get off the plane, before the baggage arrives at the pick-up area, the connecting work of baggage transferring from the turnover trolley to the conveyor belt is still done by manual effort. In terms of the 90,000 pieces of baggages in a single day, the average is 62.5 pieces per minute (90,000/24/60=62.5), and the demand speed of 120~150 pieces per minute is even needed in the peak hours, that is, up to or even more than 2 pieces per second. This means that a large amount of manpower needs to be invested to safeguard against luggage congestion and obstruction.

People knows that for people-intensive material handling scenarios, labor-saving handling systems can be very effective! So, how can this part of the job achieve cost reduction and efficiency? Stay tuned for the next article.

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