In my first role with Vanderlande, I worked on the operational readiness team overseeing the go-live and launch of a new baggage handling project at Heathrow. It was a big deal and quite intense, because we were introducing a totally new way of handling bags – and learning new processes, software and tooling at the same time.

There were many stakeholders counting on us, including the ground-handling organisations, more than 20 airlines, and of course the airport itself. The project was the culmination of ten years’ work behind the scenes for Vanderlande, so as you can imagine I felt some pressure for everything to go smoothly.

I vividly remember putting those first live passenger bags through the system – it was 6 Feb 2015 on the BA0870 LHR to BUD. I sat in the temporary control room and actually inputted the flight into the software tool myself.

It was an edge-of-the-seat thriller moment, because I was conscious of the level of change we were implementing. Little did the passengers know that their luggage was the most observed and cared for in the history of aviation!

We felt like one team working with the airport and its stakeholders, and there was an amazing spirit as we delivered the project. The hard work paid off, and everything went well – and yes, we had a party to celebrate!

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