Changi T2 Early Baggage Facility Upgraded to Fully Automated System

Adjacent to Changi Airport’s Terminal 2, a sprawling facility, reminiscent in size of four Olympic-size swimming pools, now hosts an innovative automated baggage storage system. On a daily basis, an average of 4,200 bags navigates a network of conveyor belts spanning over 1.2 kilometers. The bags, checked in early, undergo meticulous sorting by automated cranes based on height and weight.

This cutting-edge facility was a manual operation until October 2023 when it transitioned to full automation. Previously, 16 workers labored in eight-hour shifts to manually move and remove bags in the 5,120 sq m space, which has a storage capacity of up to 2,400 bags. The recent automation upgrade not only streamlines the process but also frees up workers for more nuanced tasks, marking a significant leap in efficiency.

Early check-ins have seen a surge in popularity, with over 33,000 people utilizing the service at Jewel Changi Airport in October alone, compared to about 6,000 in January. The early check-in lounge at Jewel allows passengers to check in as early as 24 hours before their flight, depending on the airline, while regular airline counters typically open two to three hours before departure.

As bags are checked in at Jewel, they seamlessly integrate into the airport’s baggage handling system—a complex network of conveyor belts, sensors, and sorters. Luggage tags are scanned to identify the flight, destination, and unique identification number. Following security screening, bags are swiftly transported underground through a network of tracks spanning over 13km, connecting Terminals 1, 2, 3, and Jewel.

In the case of Terminal 2, automated cranes facilitate the smooth transition of bags from conveyor belts to storage racks. The system ensures efficiency, with a backup crane ready to take over if any malfunction occurs. The 2,400-bag capacity at the Terminal 2 facility is notably double that of Terminals 1 and 4, with Terminal 3 boasting a capacity of up to 3,500 bags.

The fully automated process not only enhances efficiency but also contributes to the overall goal of handling increasing baggage volumes, especially as air travel steadily recovers. With over 5.6 million bags checked in early at Changi Airport in 2023, the airport remains at the forefront of innovative baggage management systems, continually exploring advancements to further optimize its operations.