Automating Baggage Transport at Changi Airport

Toulouse / Singapore - 26 July 2021
Changi Airport Group
Written by Kris Mok
Toulouse / Singapore - 26 July 2021 - From next month, Changi Airport Group (CAG) will be partnering with gateway services provider SATS to trial TractEasy for autonomous baggage towing on live flights with the support of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS).

Observations from these trials will help Changi refine its thinking on autonomous vehicle technology, infrastructure requirements and other enablers required to support autonomous vehicle movement on its airside.

The airside of the future that CAG envisions is managed by skilled airside workers, augmented by autonomous vehicles delivering seamless operations. The strong support of the airside community will be a key criterion for success. 

Innovation and technology are important to Changi Airport’s progress. CAG has continued along its innovation journey despite the impact of Covid-19 on the air travel industry. In fact, with fewer vehicles at the airside, it has presented a good opportunity for CAG’s Airside Transformation Office to trial the transfer of baggage between aircraft and the baggage handling area (BHA) using autonomous tractors.

Airside workers engage in a multitude of tasks as part of airside operations. One major task is the transportation of passenger baggage between the aircraft and BHA. Baggage tractors, hence, constitute the largest fleet of vehicles at the airside.

TractEasy waits for luggage to be loaded into the unit loading devices (ULDs) before transporting them to their departure flight.

After TractEasy delivers the ULDs to the aircraft bay, the ULDs are transferred onto a transporter, before being loaded into the aircraft.

To improve manpower productivity, CAG, together with the airside community, have been exploring technology to automate baggage transportation, so that workers can focus on last mile operations, which are more complex and difficult to automate. This will enable the airport to redesign and upgrade the job scopes of our airside workers.

In collaboration with our partner Smart Airport Systems. See full release by Changi Airport Group here.