A baggage sorting system malfunction disrupted operations


On Sunday July 30 2017, a malfunction in the baggage sorting system caused extended waiting times at baggage check-ins, slowness in sorting and baggage routing problems. 

Occurred early in the morning, a malfunction of the baggage sorting systems disrupted operations of the airport platform. 

While the experts were looking for the malfunction’s cause, the airport management mobilised internal resources and coordinated the airport staff to alternatively start manual baggage handling.

The failure had quickly been recognised as a short circuit in the main control system of the sorting system. The repair, however, required a major intervention, which ended only at 6.30 pm.

The restricted operating mode was maintained throughout the day and allowed 30,000 passengers to make their flight from Geneva. A few hundred flights took-off with delay, which was rarely more than 15 minutes and not a single flight had to be cancelled due to the malfunction.

However, this measure could not balance the mid-morning peak of passenger traffic. During an hour or so, the baggage was stacked in front of the main terminal's baggage lockers before being loaded onto baggage carts and transported to the storage area.

A preliminary calculation estimated that several thousand suitcases could not be loaded into their corresponding aircrafts that morning. Most of them were sent to the owners through other flights later in the day. The others will follow as soon as possible.

The breakdown on this crucial airport facility happened as a project plans its full replacement by 2022, to meet the growing needs generated by the growth in the number of passengers and the new requirements in terms of safety and control of hold baggage: new machines will allow to replace the current 2D imagery (radiology type) by a 3D reading (tomography type). 

This project is part of a comprehensive project to develop the infrastructure of Genève Aéroport, in order to cope with the passengers flow at the terminal. This also applies to other expansion projects for safety check or the construction of the East Wing.

On behalf of the entire airport staff involved in this difficult situation, the Airport Management apologises for any inconvenience that had arisen on this long and difficult day.