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Eastern Airlines has placed initial orders for $4 million in specialized ground equipment to permit container handling of baggage on its new jet aircraft. More money will be committed later as the improved baggage-handling system is expanded.
John B. Andersen, vice president-customer services, said the system will cut baggage delivery time by at least 50 percent while protecting luggage from loss and damage. A fully loaded 199-passenger DC-8-61, containing approximately 575 bags in 19 containers, can be unloaded and brought to the baggage claim area within 10 to 15 minutes in most instances, he said.
“Proportionate time savings will be even greater with the containerization of luggage on the wide fuselage 747s, expected in 1970 and L-1011s, expected in 1971.”
Introduced this fall
Eastern will introduce the new system this fall on its fleet of 727-200 Whisper jets, DC-8-61 and DC-8-63 aircraft.
To achieve this capability, Eastern officials worked with prospective suppliers to produce three types of new equipment: containers to hold the luggage: special trailers to carry the containers between terminal and aircraft; and loaders to move the containers from the trailer to the cargo hatch.
In addition the aircraft had to be specially fitted to accommodate the containers.
Andersen said the system has advantages for the airline and its customers: “For the passenger, it will mean faster recovery of his property with less chance of its being soiled, lost or damaged; for Eastern, it will improve our operating efficiency and give greater utilization of aircraft, ground equipment and terminal facilities.”
To implement its program Eastern has:
- Placed an order with Brooks and Perkins Inc., Detroit, for 1,625 aluminum containers.
- Ordered 1,600 trailers to move the loaded containers between terminal and aircraft.
- Purchased 45 self-propelled loaders from CochranWestern Co., Salinas, Calif. The powered loaders will quickly lift containers to a cargo door where agents will guide them to the proper place in the cargo compartment.
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