India first: KIA's automated 'self bag drop' system

India first: KIA's automated 'self bag drop' system

Facility initially available for Air Asia, SpiceJet passengers

BIAL has deployed 16 fully-automated Self Bag Drop machines at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA). (pic: BIAL)

Just 45 seconds! That is all you will need to complete your baggage check-in at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA). The Bengaluru airport on Thursday became the first in India to introduce a fully automated 'self-bag drop' system.

For now, the facility will be available only for passengers of Air Asia and SpiceJet. KIA operator Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) has deployed 16 fully-automated Self Bag Drop machines. This, says BIAL, will significantly accelerate the baggage transaction and reduce check-in queues.

Designed and installed by Materna IPS, the facility will be expanded to more airlines in the near future.

How it works:

The Self Bag Drop employs a two-step approach. A passenger will first print a boarding pass and an eezee-tag (bag tag) at a self-check-in kiosk. Once tagged, the passenger will go to the bag drop machine, scan the boarding pass to initiate the bag drop process. The bag will be measured, weighed, scanned and automatically fed into the baggage handling system.

A total of 32 new self-check-in kiosks will be installed to print boarding pass and baggage tags. “These kiosks have been specially designed for the Bengaluru Airport. In the case of excess baggage, the passenger will be directed to a hybrid counter to complete the check-in and payment,” informs a BIAL spokesperson.

However, the spokesperson adds, multiple payment gateway options for excess baggage will be integrated into the machines at a later stage as part of the technology enhancement.

Besides reducing waiting time, the automated system is expected to help airlines cut their staff strength in the long run. Currently, at least two personnel are deployed by the airlines to complete the check-in system. At the airline counter, an assistant issues the boarding pass once the ticket is verified, while another tag the baggage to be checked in.

The new technology will change this system. “India’s airports are being confronted with growth of up to 25% right now and have expansion plans to match. However, they have to make the best possible use of their existing infrastructure as extensions and new buildings take too long. The self-service project at KIA is the first of its kind in India, says Shibu Mathews, head of Materna in India.