Veghel, the Netherlands — Vanderlande Industries and IBM have signed a contract for a new baggage handling system at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. The new baggage handling system, known as ‘The Backbone’, is part of the airport’s 70MB programme to increase capacity to 70 million bags in the future. The contract value for Vanderlande is €84m.

The Backbone

The Backbone will ensure a more flexible, reliable and high-quality baggage sorting system enabling transfer baggage to move quickly between all of the airport’s baggage handling areas. It will create more back-up capacity, reducing the likelihood of disruptions to the baggage-handling process in the event of a system failure. Work is scheduled to start in March 2010, and is expected to last until mid-2013.

The project not only consists of the physical conveyor connections by means of Vanderlande’s TUBTRAX technology. Also included are the integration of all controls functionalities for the entire airport’s baggage system and of all new and existing high level controls systems.

Schiphol 70MB programme

The construction of The Backbone constitutes a key step in Amsterdam Airport Schiphol’s 70MB programme. This programme is aimed at increasing capacity to 70 million baggage items per year in the future. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol will invest a total of approximately €800m in expanding baggage-handling system capacity and improving the quality and reliability of the system. The 70MB programme is currently the airport’s largest investment programme. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is working closely with KLM to realise the project.

Michiel Peters, president and CEO of Vanderlande Industries, stated: “This order not only physically connects all of Schiphol’s handling areas, but also integrates the entire airport’s baggage system control software. As such it is an important part of the airport’s strategic 70MB programme to create an efficient, reliable and fast baggage handling process. It will support Schiphol to become ‘the preferred airport in Europe’ and to maintain its mainport function.”