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British Airways launching driverless baggage tugs

British Airways launching driverless baggage tugs

British Airways is to launch driverless baggage tugs at Gatwick Airport.

The flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom is hoping to combat staff shortages at the London airport as their parent company International Consolidated Airlines Group employs the use of the autonomous vehicles, according to the Telegraph.

The machines have been developed by Coventry-based Aurrigo and the tugs - which cost a reported £100,000 to £250,000 each - have been tested Changi Airport in Singapore since 2020.

Professor David Keene, Aurrigo's chief executive, said: “You need 90pc less labour and equipment, so it is very efficient.

“Airlines want to be able to offer consistently good standards from a customer point of view as well. Often you’re in the airport building and it’s fantastic, you’re on the plane and it’s quite modern, but then you get off and it’s lotto time at the baggage carousel.

“First of all, you might have a long wait. Secondly, your bag might not have made it - and that really dents the customer experience."

The professor went on to argue that whilst many travellers may tend to "blame the airline" when something goes wrong, that is not always fair because it is not always the airlines themselves who are handling the baggage transportation.

He added: “Everyone tends to blame the airline, because that’s who you’re flying with, but it’s not actually the airlines handling the bags in a lot of cases.

“So taking that back and being able to own the customer experience is a really important part of it.”

Steve McGowan, senior vice president for Airport Futures at IAG, said: “IAG is exploring innovative ways to help its airlines run their operations as smoothly and punctually as possible.

“We are working with Aurrigo to trial the use of autonomous baggage trollies, to help support the work of the fantastic baggage teams at our group airlines and our ground handling partners.”

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