A £3.2 MILLION baggage handling and screening facility for passengers flying out of Ronaldsway became operational just hours before a UK-imposed deadline.
New EU regulations stipulated that by September 1, the airport’s x-ray machines had to be upgraded to new ‘standard 2’ machines.
Failure to meet that deadline would have meant the airport losing its domestic status for inbound flights and it would also have meant no hold bags being allowed onto aircraft.
Tynwald gave funding approval in March for the security x-ray machines, a replacement outbound baggage conveyor system and an extension to house the new baggage make-up area.
Work began on site early in April to replace the old outbound baggage conveyor system, located behind the check-in desks in the terminal building. The old carousel equipment had become very unreliable, although it had lasted two years longer than expected.
The three new standard 2 x-ray machines have been commissioned, all staff training completed, and the whole system was put into operation late on Friday afternoon (August 31).
Airport director Anne Reynolds said another benefit of the new system was that it was all under cover so that baggage on delayed flights could be stored out of the elements.
She said: ‘I’m delighted with this new facility, which means that we now have a processing area for outbound baggage, which has a modern conveyor system working within it, plus the new x-ray machines. The old conveyor system operated from holes in the wall behind check-in and led to a single line conveyor under what can only be described as a ‘lean to’.
‘This meant staff were always working out in the elements and importantly, bags were also kept out in the open. During times of delay, there wasn’t sufficient space to store bags other than on the ground – the alternative being to not allow passengers to check-in. This new facility has space in which bags for delayed flights can now be stored under cover.’
The replacement conveyor scheme has a two-line system, providing back up in event of a breakdown. It is expected to have a working life of about 15 years and has the ability to integrate future X-ray machine standards, if required, and cope with any projected increase in passenger numbers.
Overall cost of the project was £3,216,779 and the scheme was delivered within budget. The expected spend on island and off–island was split 50/50 because of the specialist x-ray machines and conveyor system equipment.
Ms Reynolds thanked contractor JCK and baggage conveyor supplier Cal-jan, plus airport staff who had to work under some ‘very challenging times’ during the project. Passengers were also thanked for their patience and co-operation.
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Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 13 C
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