Reduced delays

Optimising baggage allocation to decrease carousel waiting times and improve travellers’ experiences

Airport Operations, Infrastructure

Air travel consists of a number of complex systems, and airports are where these systems collide to get people to their destinations.

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While the goal is efficiency, a spike in volume—for example, due to the simultaneous arrival of a handful flights—can overwhelm systems and infrastructure, creating bottlenecks, delays, and a rise in frustrated passengers. A major hub airport in Asia was looking to improve customer experience and airport efficiency by managing the flow of passengers through its facility. Its executives had identified baggage congestion as one of the key issues. The company was preparing to invest significant capital to expand the number of carousels but wanted to ensure it had explored all other options before committing these resources.

Insight and Action

QuantumBlack aggregated and analysed one year of data in an effort to identify the root cause of congestion. We then sought to optimise the process for assigning baggage carousels against three metrics: carousel congestion, load balancing, and quality of service. Through use of a dynamic model, we achieved a significant gain in performance by optimising baggage distribution among existing carousels. Crucially, our solution was simple to deploy, so we could embed algorithms within existing operating systems.


  • 27Percentimprovement in carousel congestion
  • 19Percentimprovement in load balancing
  • 10Percentimprovement in quality of service, which would helped delay significant capital expenditure