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The installation of Avery Weigh-Tronix legal for trade weighing scales for checking hand luggage has reduced plane delays and allowed for a much-improved weighing experience at Gatwick Airport.

Gatwick is the busiest single runway airport in the world handling 34 million passengers a year.  It has the capacity to grow this number to 40 million per year by 2021/22 so its efficiency in turning around planes is vital.


Overloading causes delays

Previously the airline had hand luggage scales installed in only a few of its departure gate rooms.  With more airlines enforcing strict hand luggage limits, this was leading to problems in allocating an airline’s planes to particular stands where hand luggage could be checked.  One airline had 40 delays attributed to this problem in a year.

With systems in place for passengers to pre-check their hold luggage before checking in, there is a temptation to transfer some of the load into hand baggage.  Also some passengers will try and board with more than one item of hand luggage.


Health and Safety

Says Julian Sincock, change manager for Gatwick:  “Overloading hand baggage is a health and safety issue for airlines, since bags that are too heavy could fall out of the overhead lockers and hurt someone.  There is also only limited space so airlines are increasingly enforcing limits on its passengers. 


Revenue generation

“By using legal for trade scales, airlines also have the option of charging passengers should their customers wish to take extra hand luggage on board.  Placing these scales in the gaterooms makes it easy for an airline’s staff to check the baggage at the point of departure.   For us as an airport, the solution provides far more flexibility in allocating a stand to airlines that do this, which further improves our efficiency and plane turnaround.”


Service and Maintenance

Gatwick is also using Avery Weigh-Tronix to service the legal for trade scales.  The contract includes annual calibration and maintenance and also a response time of 24 hours for a call out.

Says Julian:  “It is important to keep the scales operational, accurate and legal. Having said that, if there is a problem the scales do have an internal rechargeable battery so that they can be moved from one gate room to another to give us even more flexibility.”


No weighing-related delays

Since the installation of the scales in the departure gate rooms in the South terminal there have been no delays due to weighing problems.  Gatwick has now completed the installation of scales for weighing hand luggage in its North terminal.