Istanbul Airport

Vanderlande’s service team makes positive impact at Istanbul Airport

Covering a colossal footprint of 76.5 million square metres, Istanbul Airport (IST) was officially opened by the Turkish president Erdogan on 29 October 2018 (the national day in Turkey). It began facilitating live flights in April 2019, when the majority of routes were transferred from Atatürk Airport. Once all construction phases have been completed, IST will be capable of handling 200 million passengers per year.

Peaks and transfers

Orchestrating the ‘go-live’ for such a monumental airport was no mean feat. However, as IST is currently operating at under half its expected capacity, the new challenge for the airport is to increase its scope in anticipation of future growth. After beginning operations, IST quickly jumped from 50 to 1,400 flights over a two-day period and is now handling over 100,000 bags per day* (domestic, international and transfers).

iGA’s Special Airport Systems Director Dominic Liddell is clear on the road ahead: “We are facing a number of challenges, but our main focus is on predictive maintenance to ensure that we don’t sustain future failures. We also need to benchmark our activities, so that if something’s not quite right in the system, we can take action to keep it in good shape.”

Experience and expertise

Alongside its supply of the BHS hardware and VIBES software, Vanderlande is also providing a comprehensive package of life-cycle services. On 14 June 2018, Vanderlande signed a five-year operations and maintenance (O&M) agreement with the airport, and is focusing on the high-end scope of works. This involves the company’s IT specialists and analysing and improving baggage processes by process engineers.

In addition, Vanderlande is overseeing the operational planning and performance of the BHS, and as such, is managing the BHS control room and overseeing the baggage flows. Vanderlande has also implemented its VIDI solution through which it can analyse the performance of the system.


“To minimise the risk involved, we made a strategic decision to select Vanderlande for the BHS operation,” explains iGA’s BHS Manager İlker Çelepçikay. “We both performed many tests before the go-live and were able to identify any problems. Now, we have a performance-based O&M contract in place, and both iGA and Vanderlande closely monitor the KPIs. What makes Vanderlande a reliable partner is the company’s global experience. Its know-how from other airports was a benefit in this respect, and it will be able to carry forward many new lessons learned from iGA to its next projects.”

An excellent performance

Through its provision of life-cycle services, Vanderlande has made a positive contribution to the BHS operation. For example, the airport’s first summer peak in 2019 was highly efficient and well organised, the BHS capacity itself is now approximately 22,000 bags per hour (of which 68% are transfer items), and the system availability has been 99.9%. In addition, the redundant design of the Vanderlande BHS has also proven to be beneficial in terms of planning maintenance activities.

One of the most significant results has been the in-system times according to Dominic: “Our average time is around eight minutes, so from check-in right through to preparing the ULDs for the aircraft. And if we can do that in under ten minutes, there’s no reason why we can’t send out ULDs and load an entire flight in 40 minutes. The in-system time is working really well, it has exceeded the initial design specification (of 15 minutes), and to see an average of eight minutes is fantastic.”

The next level

Although 2020 has been a tremendously difficult year for global airports, Istanbul Airport remains open to the future, and has the ambition to be the largest transfer hub in the world. There are also plans in place to make extensions to the existing facilities and build additional terminal buildings.

* All quotes and information were correct as of December 2019.

Download the full case study

Would you like to know more about our life-cycle services at Istanbul Airport? The full case study is now available for download.