The purpose of the Airport Operation Plan (AOP) is to make the airport’s processes more efficient and to offer both inbound and outbound passengers a more pleasant experience. One of the tools we use to do this is Inbound Allocation.
It's 1 am and your plane is landing at Brussels Airport. You are returning from a lovely trip and you feel completely relaxed. All you need to do now is collect your baggage and drive back home. When you get to the baggage area, you immediately walk towards the indicated carousel. To your surprise, you see a large group of people standing near the baggage belt. It looks as though the baggage from all the other flights is also arriving on this carousel, even though the other 6 carousels are completely empty. It is clearly going to take a long time to get home tonight...
Until recently, the two independent baggage handlers at Brussels Airport allocated the inbound baggage to the belts themselves. This has meant that the baggage was not always allocated evenly to the belts and that the entire process did not always run smoothly. At times, this has resulted in lots of people flocking around the same carousel, longer waiting times and not enough space for passengers to conveniently take their baggage off the belt. This has caused a great deal of tension and frustration among passengers.
High time to do something about this. Brussels Airport always aims for more quality, less stress and more breathing space for passengers. This also applies to the baggage belts. That is why henceforth we will allocate all incoming flights to the available baggage belts ourselves. The advantage of this new way of working is that only one party will be responsible for distributing the baggage to the belts. This allows us to keep a better overview. Our goal is that each baggage carousel contains baggage from just one flight at a time. Of course, this is not always possible – particularly during busier periods – but the baggage will be distributed more evenly and passengers will be able to retrieve their baggage from the belt more quickly.
Although the new regulations have only just come into force, Brussels Airport is already looking towards the future by putting Inbound Allocation 2.0 project on the agenda.
Inbound Allocation 2.0 aims to take into account the number of baggage items on an aircraft, because the amount of baggage will determine how long the baggage belt will be occupied. The more baggage is coming in, the longer it will take for everyone to collect their baggage from the belt. Inbound Allocation 2.0 allows more efficient planning based on this information. Large aircraft will get their own baggage belt, whereas two smaller flights can be placed on the same baggage belt if necessary. This will allow passengers to retrieve their baggage much more quickly in the future.
Another reason for us to take over Inbound Allocation is Brussels Airport’s role as a Star Alliance hub. No fewer than 17 of the 28 companies in this alliance operate to and from Brussels Airport.
The Star Alliance takes passengers with priority baggage seriously. The baggage of these passengers, who may be business-class travellers or frequent flyers, will appear on the baggage belt first upon arrival. Research has shown that priority baggage is always the first to arrive on the belt, but that passengers have a different perception.
The cause of this problem has everything to do with – you guessed it – Inbound Allocation. Priority passengers who have just arrived at the belt can see baggage items on the carousel, but their own baggage is not there yet. Even though it seems as if other baggage items have been given priority, they are actually baggage items from a previous flight. Now that Brussels Airport will be managing the baggage belts itself, the arrivals will be organised in a more structured way. This will prevent such confusion and will benefit Star Alliance, Brussels Airport and our passengers. Because honestly, who wants to wait for their baggage after a long journey?