Aircraft lined at up Schophol Airport (AMS) in Amsterdam
Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport (AMS) is the 5th largest airport in Europe and the 15th largest in the world. Already the airport is busy and they only expect it get busier. The problem is there isn’t a whole lot more room to expand the airport and one of the biggest challenges is handling all the luggage. Since they can’t grow bigger, they have had to grown smarter. The airport has been working with IBM to create a futuristic way to handle bags.
The system is housed at the new South Baggage Hall where they hope to increase bag capacity by 40% before 2018. The new system is important, “to create an efficient, reliable and fast baggage handling process,” said Mark Lakerveld, Senior Manager Baggage at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.
No matter where your bag might be in the 13 miles of conveyor system or 4,000 bag positions, the new system can track exactly where it is at. The new baggage operation has 36 cranes and 60% will be handled by robots (yes, robots). After you check in, your bag will be placed into the bag storage. Then a robot will take your bag when needed and place it on the conveyor belt, reducing overload in the system. The new luggage process is connected to real-time flight information, meaning your bag will only be pulled when your plane is ready for it.
Is this the future of airport baggage systems? Possibly. When asked if we might be seeing this system at other airports, IBM spokesperson stated, “There are a couple of similar efforts that are happening internationally that can’t be named specifically. This example is indicative of what is beginning to happen and we will see more of in airports across the world — focusing on being smarter about how they utilize the space that they have.”
Although great on paper, let’s how this is not a repeat of Denver International Airport (DEN) attempted at a similar high-tech airport luggage system in the early 1990s. Let’s hope that Schiphol has a little better luck.
Check out this video from IBM on how the system works.
Heck yes! DJ'n at 35,000 feet on KLM's new Amsterdam to Miami flight.
It takes something big to turn down an offer to fly on a party plane from Amsterdam to Miami on KLM. I was invited to KLM’s party flight, but unfortunately had to turn it down to cover the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental’s first flight.
Luckily Shashank Nigam, who runs the site Simpliflying.com, was on the flight and able to share all the excitement. “The KLM flight was quite exciting, and entertaining, to say the least,” Nigam told me over email. “It was the first time I was in a plane that felt more like a club, since everyone was grooving to the music being played by the Dutch DJs. Probably the most happening 10 hours I’ve spent in the air.”
The passengers were no ordinary folks. Sure there were quite a few DJ’s to offer block-rocking-beats, but also passengers who won KLM’s Fly2Miami social media competition. And actually the power of social media made KLM change the first flight.
Originally KLM planned to fly on March 27th, but a DJ and film maker explained that would be too late for participating in spring break events in Miami. KLM challenge them to fill the plane and they would make it happen.
One beautiful tri-hole. A KLM MD-11.
They started a website and social media campaign to get folks to get 150 people to sign up and only had seven days to do it. Luckily for them, it only took five hours to fill the plane and KLM changed the date to March 21st. Now that is awesome.
Well for social media it is awesome, for me it meant I couldn’t go. Although parting at 35,000 feet is pretty slick, I am more upset that the aircraft used on the flight was an MD-11 and I missed out flying on it. KLM is the only airline offering scheduled passenger service using the MD-11. For an airline nerd, this is awesome. KLM flies a fleet of 10 passenger versions and seven cargo versions of the MD-11 aircraft. This is a small percentage of their over 200 aircraft strong fleet.
KLM will now offer scheduled service from Amsterdam four days per week and is their 65th international destination.
* Video of Water canon salute
* Video of the DJ’s in action at 35,000 feet
* KLM’s blog about the event
Images: DJ from KLM, MD-11 from caribb