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Heathrow Terminal 3 Integrated Baggage facility, Heathrow Airport Ltd.

IT project of the year: 2015

The way in which baggage is handled has a huge impact on Heathrow’s effectiveness as Europe’s leading hub airport and on the airlines and passengers that use it.

The airport’s four terminals need to be able to cope with some 110 million bags a year, which calls for a system that is fast, safe, reliable and tough. Historically, baggage handling had been adapted during years of expansion with no unified, centralised approach.

A key feature of the £11 billion investment over the past decade has been work to improve baggage handling. The next major project was to build a dedicated system for Terminal 3 (T3) and integrated to Terminal 5 (T5). These two terminals cope with more than a third of Heathrow connections and in 2014, T3’s old system alone handled over 10 million items of baggage.

The IT would be the ‘brain’ behind the Terminal 3 Integrated Baggage system (T3IB), now hailed as the most sophisticated and effective airport baggage handling system in the world.

Delivering this innovative system in a new, four-storey building the size of two football pitches without interrupting live airport operations required an innovative approach to project management and stakeholder participation from start to finish.

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