As we move into 2018 and the deadline looms even closer for upgrading hold baggage screening to ECAC Standard 3, the best possible advice has to be GET A MOVE ON!! In the UK, where the transition must be completed this year, the Department of Transport has said that from start to finish, the upgrade takes around four years…
Europe is generally due to follow by 2020, so if any comparatively last minute advice is needed, what are the pivotal issues and top tips for a successful transition?
- Chose reliable partners for planning, design, construction and equipment – they should be reasonably sized organisations with a solid reputation and proven experience in baggage handling systems. Companies which can work together to deliver the right solution in terms of compliance and your individual operational requirements.
- Make sure you allow for both current and future capacity with some in reserve beyond projected annual growth.
- Regulatory compliance is continually evolving so be prepared for future developments by choosing a system with built-in upgrade paths and/or a modular approach. The ability to opt for software upgrades rather than replacing hardware is critical – as is the ability to add or remove machines from a networked system with minimal disruption.
- Where appropriate, re-use existing components or functions. For example, could the technical interfaces be retained in the new system; or if image representation is similar to the legacy version, analysts may require little or no additional training. Overall, this approach reduces both costs and the time it takes to complete the upgrade.
- Always evaluate proposed concepts in terms of achieving the highest possible levels of efficiency.
- Consider combining the new HBS infrastructure with passenger, air cargo or inbound customs screening – there are financial and operational efficiencies to be gained.
- Look for a proactive, on-site maintenance programme and the rapid response personnel and strategically located spare parts needed to minimise operational disruptions.
Upgrading to Standard 3 means redesigning the HBS and a significant financial investment. Get it right, and you will have a system perfectly suited to your particular operation and which delivers many benefits above and beyond regulatory compliance.