Established in October 1956, Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTHA) is a regional airport located in the southwestern part of The Netherlands. During the 1990s, strong economic growth caused an increase in passenger numbers and in 2001 it was decided that the airport’s current location would be maintained for the foreseeable future.
RTHA is a part of the Royal Schiphol Group (alongside Schiphol, Eindhoven and Lelystad airports) and serves almost two million passengers per year.
“Although we are a regional airport, we strive to be more than a place where planes and passengers simply come and go,” says RTHA’s Managing Director Ron Louwerse. “We also have a desire to be of importance to the metropolitan region of Rotterdam The Hague and to the cities that we connect to, and we’re trying to achieve this with one of our strategic themes – innovation. With this in mind, we’re always looking to give industry partners a platform from which to introduce or pilot their innovations on site.”
For RTHA to be able to meet its objectives, Vanderlande proposed FLEET, its flexible and sustainable baggage handling solution. In March 2018, a letter of intent was signed between Vanderlande and RTHA with the purpose of improving the baggage handling process at the airport through the use of intelligent autonomous vehicle technology.
A subsequent pilot project was initiated to trial FLEET in a live operation. In line with its forward-thinking approach, the trial would allow RTHA to gain valuable insight into the potential applications for innovative technologies such as FLEET, as well as improve its performance.
Now that the pilot project has neared its completion, there is an expectation that it will serve as a platform for further success. “The pilot is a showcase for innovation and shows how reliable it can be to have an autonomous system for baggage,” concludes Ron. “No one likes to leave their luggage behind, and I think the pilot shows that it’s possible to look after passengers without introducing an element of risk.
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