Introducing a new HBS system at Guernsey Airport
Steve Langlois, Head of Passenger Operations and Aviation Security at Guernsey Ports, speaks to International Airport Review about the new HBS system being introduced at Guernsey Airport, which will remove the need for random manual searches of hold baggage by security staff.
A brand new multi-million-pound state-of-the-art hold baggage screening (HBS) system is being introduced at Guernsey Airport (GCI).
The project, carried out by Guernsey Ports, was needed in order to comply with current aviation security standards for airports throughout the British Isles, and this new equipment replaces the existing system which no longer meets regulatory standards.
The hold baggage system processes passenger hold baggage from the check-in desks, through the security scanning equipment before it’s loaded onto aircraft.
A system in need of an upgrade
The old system had been installed when the current airport terminal opened in 2004 and was due to be upgraded anyway. New regulations from the UK Department for Transport mandated the need for a different type of screening equipment, so new scanners needed to be installed as well.
Speaking to International Airport Review, Steve Langlois, Head of Passenger Operations and Aviation Security at Guernsey Ports, said: “The project involved the wholesale upgrade of the entire HBS system – including the conveyors carrying the baggage through the scanners and onto the carousel where it is collected by the baggage handlers and loaded onto aircraft.”
The scanning technology is very different compared to the equipment it replaces. It has moved on a lot over the last five years and provides scanning quality on a par with CT medical screening, giving security staff vastly more enhanced imaging”
The investment made by the island’s government, the States of Guernsey, is incredibly important as the airport provides vital air connectivity with the UK mainland and essential social and economic lifelines for all of the islands that make up the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
Langlois continued: “The new conveyor system and state-of-the-art hold baggage scanners are now industry standard. The scanning technology is very different compared to the equipment it replaces. It has moved on a lot over the last five years and provides scanning quality on a par with CT medical screening, giving security staff vastly more enhanced imaging. We are moving from an analogue system to a fully digital operation, with highly sophisticated equipment in which the conveyors are fully integrated with the scanning machines.”
The estimated completion date of the project expected in early November 2021.On-site building work commenced in January 2021 using local building contractor RG Falla Ltd, with a delay from the end of January to mid-March caused by a local COVID-19 lockdown. Despite this enforced delay, the works made significant progress, with the first of the new scanners now in operation and the second scanner arrived on island in mid-August 2021.
Langlois added: “From a passenger perspective we have built-in resilience, since now both scanners are identical, and we have the capability to automatically divert baggage between both scanners to reduce disruption for passengers.”
The investment made by the island’s government, the States of Guernsey, is incredibly important as the airport provides vital air connectivity with the UK mainland and essential social and economic lifelines for all of the islands that make up the Bailiwick of Guernsey”
This brand-new equipment is also good news for the airport’s maintenance teams, as the new HBS system is fully supported with easy access to physical parts and comprehensive support packages.
Langlois concluded: “The project is due to be completed later in 2021 and will provide Guernsey Airport with a resilient and future-proofed hold baggage system for the next 10-15 years, which will be compliant with the latest Standard 3 hold baggage regulations. I must thank our partners Robson Handling Technology, Rapiscan Systems and RG Falla Ltd who continue to deliver this project in very challenging circumstances.”
Colin Le Ray, Managing Director of Guernsey Ports, added: “We’re pleased to see this level of investment being made into a critical part of the airport’s infrastructure. As technology and standards improve and evolve, we want to ensure Guernsey’s ports are equipped with the latest and most resilient technology.”
Steve Langlois has been with Guernsey Ports for over 18 years of his working life. He has worked in a variety of business support and financial management roles in the earlier part of his career. Langlois has also worked for the States of Guernsey’s legal department, the Law Officers of the Crown, before returning to Guernsey Ports as Guernsey Airport’s Deputy Head of Aviation Services in a key operational role for the airport. In his current role as Head of Passenger Operations and Aviation Security for Guernsey Ports, Langlois has been leading a highly technical and logistically complex Hold Baggage System upgrade project for Guernsey Airport. Langlois has been instrumental in ensuring the impact of the project on airport users has been kept to a minimum and security compliance maintained at all times during the works.