Improved Baggage Handling System coming soon

The upgrade to the Baggage Handling System at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport is nearly complete to support growing passenger volumes well into the future.

With 4.5 million passengers travelling through the airport in 2019, the previous Baggage Handling System was fit for meeting the needs of approximately five million passengers. Since 2014, annual passenger volumes have come in well above forecasted predictions outlined in the airport’s Master Plan. The upgrade to the new system, which began in the fall of 2019, proactively sets the airport up to successfully accommodate increased passenger volumes projected in the years to come. 

Since September, travellers have been dropping off their bags at a temporary bag drop close to the pre-board screening areas. This setup is a short-term installment put in place to allow for significant improvements to be made to the Baggage Handling System to screen baggage faster and more efficiently.

Until the new system is complete, the temporary setup may have minor impacts on the traveller experience. Passengers may see longer queues during peak times of the day, especially on YWG’s busiest travel days which are typically Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. The airport is asking travellers to arrive early before their flight to give themselves extra time in case this impacts their experience.

Behind the scenes, large-scale equipment is being upgraded in numerous areas. A section of raised flooring had to be disassembled in the bag room to remove the old machinery and then rebuilt again to support the modernized equipment. Thanks to advanced technology, fewer screening checkpoints are needed as the new equipment is more efficient, eliminates redundancies and offers improved scanning abilities. 

“The old equipment was at the end of its life cycle,” said Nevin Edmundson, Manager of Airport Operations. “With the new equipment, the screening itself is better and we can process more bags per hour as the new machines are approximately four times faster than the old ones.”

The new Baggage Handling System is also complete with two upgraded Automated Tag Readers to improve luggage sorting processes, helping ensure more bags get to where they need to be.

With construction still ongoing, the new Baggage Handling System is expected to launch in April. There is also additional time allotted for testing the new system to ensure everything operates smoothly. This upgrade came as the result of a partnership between the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority and the Winnipeg Airports Authority, working together to help strengthen airport operations. Screening baggage is a multi-layer process with screening personnel also playing a critical role in ensuring the safety of all passengers.

From the passenger perspective, the new system will look and feel the same as it did before. Travellers will once again drop their bags on the conveyor belt behind the airline check-in counters and be on their way.

An extended thank you to all travellers, staff and those heavily involved in this project for working with us to improve this important system at YWG.
 

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