Customer Service Enhanced with BHS Expansion

Author: 
Nicole Nelson
Published in: 
November-December
2008

The Houston Airport System (HAS) has a long-term initiative to eliminate all customer experience difficulties from Terminal A to Terminal E at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Speedy and accurate baggage delivery has been an area of recent focus.

Jesus H. Saenz Jr., HAS assistant director of administration and customer service, says the recent integration of an explosives detection system (EDS) into the existing Continental Airlines baggage sortation system in Terminal C has helped ensure a travel experience that is as tranquil and seamless as possible.

"Everything is done behind the scenes, so that is the first attribute that is very positive for the customer," Saenz says of the phased system that includes baggage system engineering, manufacturing, installation management and integration for the 100% Hold Baggage Screening Project to support the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) requirement for security screening. "The baggage goes on to a belt and then it is gone."

 

George Bush Intercontinental

Logistics

 

Baggage Handling System (BHS) project manager Ted Dreaver of G&T Conveyor oversaw the mechanics of the $16 million project that connects six EDS machines in Terminal E with 10 EDS machines in Terminal C via 6,300 linear feet of conveyor to enhance the overall Continental Airlines system.

G&T’s controls subcontractor Brock Solutions aided G&T by completing the control system design, software modifications and electrical design of the 500+ motor installation with 250 remote variable frequency drives.

Improvements

Not only has accuracy been enhanced, but speed has also been greatly magnified. Two new EDS screening matrices have each been tested to accommodate 2,000 bags per hour.

 

Facts and Figures

Project: Terminal C Baggage System Expansion

Location: George Bush Intercontinental Airport

Airline: Continental Airlines

BHS Equipment Manufacturer: G&T Conveyor

G&T’s BHS Controls Subcontractor: Brock Solutions

BHS Installation Contractor: G&T Conveyor

Project Duration: 13 months

Project Completion: May 1, 2008

Value of BHS: $16 million

 

"The beauty of the system is the speed that it is done at," Saenz says. "It improves the speed of the delivery of the baggage from the ticket counter to the belly of the aircraft so that the customers always feel confident and ensured that their baggage will make it to their final destination."

Manual and automatic divert devices were installed on new ticket counter and sorter bound conveyors to manage bag flow and to provide Continental operations the ability to route around conveyor system faults. The new system is also tied in to existing ticket counter and sorter bound conveyors. Several existing programs were modified for tie-ins executed with minimal downtime to Continental operations.

Impact to the facility was of concern to HAS

"We sat down with Continental and the TSA to talk about how the connectivity from Echo to Charlie was going to impact the airport, as well as what was going to be the speed and the delivery of the baggage to ensure that the system would be meeting our customer service needs and demands. Those are things we are very cognizant of as an airport complex," notes Saenz.

 

Fast Track

G&T’s Dreaver says these concerns were addressed with an ambitious schedule.

"We engineered, manufactured, installed and tested in 13 months, and the project actually came in ahead of schedule," he says of the project completed in May 2008. "It was pretty aggressive and on a fast track."

Brock Solutions project manager Bill McGuire concurs.

"This was a very large and complex baggage system to complete within 13 months," McGuire says. "This was well over a 500 motor system with 10 screening machines. In addition there were about 10 overnight tie-ins to the existing conveyor system — all completed with minimal impact to Continental operations."

When passenger baggage ultimately finds itself on Continental aircraft in Houston, the behind-the-scenes automation is to be lauded.

"Our passengers can feel much more confident when they come to Houston and traverse through Terminal C that their bags are going to make their final destination," Saenz says. "That is ultimately the largest feature and service we are providing to our customers."

 

Subcategory: 
Baggage

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