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Southwest Airlines and Leonardo to Reshape Baggage Handling System at Denver Airport

Our Bureau - : Dec 19, 2023 - : 3:52 am

Southwest Airlines has chosen Leonardo’s sorter technology to reshape the transfer bags facility at Denver International Airport. The cross-belt sorter technology is being introduced in the U.S. for the first time.

The move aims to guarantee faster connection times, accommodate tight flights schedule, and enhance capacity to handle future passenger volume growth effectively. Denver is one of the busiest airline hubs in the world’s largest aviation market, and is third among the world’s top 10 busiest airports.

The contract, worth over 25 million euros, will provide a solution designed in response to Southwest’s specific requirements, to remove the root cause of inefficiencies experienced due to labor intensive, manual sortation, tail-to-tail transfer bag approach at Southwest Denver.

Leonardo’s cross-belt sorter (MBHS – Multisorting Baggage Handling System) offers numerous advantages over traditional systems including enhanced accuracy, increased sorting speed, and improved scalability. This will enable Southwest to experience significant improvements in operational efficiency, automatic precise sortation of transfer bags, reduced operator workload, and elimination of existing pain points.

“Southwest handles far more bags than anyone else in the industry and it’s not even close,” said Andrew Watterson, Chief Operations Officer at Southwest Airlines. “This new system at Denver Airport helps to modernize our largest operation and provides key efficiencies to our people and customers.”

Leonardo’s solution will comprise 1 MBHS cross-belt sorter with 3 induction lines for a total length of about 500 m/1640 ft to serve 94 destinations. There will also be two conveyor-based bags buffers. The system features additional technological innovations including advanced IT systems for management, flow management software for intelligent routing and a diagnostic system.

“The decision by Southwest to trust their largest and most complex baggage operation in the USA to Leonardo really demonstrates the transformative nature of our baggage technology,” said Massimiliano Veltroni, Managing Director of Automation Business Unit. “The application of the MBHS for Southwest at Denver will be game-changing for their operation and I look forward to seeing the system live with real Southwest bags in the near future.”

The technology is already being used in numerous European airports and also in airports in Middle East and Asia.

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