BAE AUTOMATED Systems, the much-maligned contractor for Denver International Airport's (DIA) automated baggage-handling system, at last believes that it is over the worst of the fall-out resulting from the troubled contract.

Technical problems dogged the development, delaying the airport's opening by 16 months, but BAE President Gene Di Fonso says that he never considered walking away from the project. "We couldn't abandon DIA. No one would ever trust us again," he says.

"I hope people will remember that, in spite of what happened, we stayed. We spent the money. We did everything necessary to make the machine work. There are companies that would have done otherwise. I hope our future customers consider the integrity of BAE after it got into trouble," he adds.

"We never lied to anybody about the problems," he says, admitting, however, that BAE "underestimated" the time it would take to fine-tune the highly complex system.

"No other airport project on the horizon approaches the size and scope of DIA. The system may not be duplicated for 50 years," predicts Di Fonso.

Although the baggage-handling system at Denver is the largest and most complicated ever built, BAE has installed smaller-scale systems at five other international airports.

Over the last decade, it has built 65 automated baggage systems for major air carriers worldwide. It is now installing a major system at London Heathrow and large conventional transport conveyors at airports in San Juan and Miami.

Source: Flight International