Unisys wins $37 million airport contract

Unisys has won a five-year contract worth $37 million to develop and manage a passenger baggage reconciliation system (BRS) for Australia’s international airports.

The contract was awarded by 32 international airlines, representing more than 95 per cent of Australian international passenger traffic. Unisys beat proposals from German airline subsidiary Lufthansa IT and air transport specialist SITA to win it.

“We went to Unisys because the tender we received from them provided us with the greatest comfort that its system would deliver on the great majority of necessary [Federal Government’s Department of Transport and Regional Service] factors,” Board of Airline Representatives Australia (BARA) CEO, Warren Bennett, said. “Some of the other responses needed work on existing systems.”

The system – that will be introduced at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Cairns and Darwin – complies with Aviation security Act regulations and is designed to enhance efficiency as well as security.

Unisys will implement and manage the BRS service from its Sydney data centre, providing around the clock helpdesk services as well as training for airline and baggage-handling staff. The system is expected to be in place by the end of the year.

The system will see barcode tags on every bag scanned and checked against passenger records before receiving loading authorisation to the relevant aircraft. A record is retained to account for loaded bags, identify missing or unidentified ones and assist with unloading if required.

The fundamental benefit of the BRS service is the additional security it provides for passengers and airline businesses without impeding the passenger or airline operations,” Unisys general manager of transportation for Asia-Pacific, Andrew Whittaker, said.

On a lighter note, the BRS should also herald a reduction in lost luggage complaints.“Some airlines were looking to implement a similar system several years ago for just that reason but were unable to justify the cost,” BARA’s Bennett said.

“Hopefully, it [BRS] will show significant reductions in mishandled baggage because anything sent to the wrong gate will be noticed when the barcode is checked and returned to its intended flight.”

The BRS is expected to handle 12-15 million bags per year throughout Australia.

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