Dr William J Hill


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Airport Baggage Handling and Screening Consultant Dr WJ Hill

Professional Overview


Design, Construction and Operations Specialist

A professional profile and a few examples of work undertaken


*   Fields


*   Functional testing


*   Operational research


*   Automated sorting


*   Standard operating procedures


*   Operational concept


*   Control rooms and control facilities


*   Signage


*   Hold baggage screening 1


*   Hold baggage screening 2


*   Computer simulation


*   Performance analysis


*   Statistics










Extensive international experience in consultancy for, and management of projects up to €160m (US$ 200m), from system design right through to construction and opera­tion. These include such diverse fields as analysis for global objectives, specification, engineering, software develop­ment, operation, tender (bid) evaluation, tendering and sales. W. Hill has been an employee of British, German, Japanese and Malaysian firms and has worked and lived in several countries for airport operating companies, airport developers and airport consulting companies.

Knowledge and skills

UK Chartered Engineer with consoli­dated and extensive experience in airport automation, industrial automation, computer inte­grated manufacturing, large control systems – including a 1200 MW nuclear power plant – and various process control systems using SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition), PLCs (programmable logic controllers) and IT (infor­mation technology). Extensive hands-on operational experience in airport baggage handling and procedures.


Recent work has covered design, construction management, financial control, administration and management of operations for international air­ports up to 65 million annual passenger capacity. W. Hill has been responsible for automated systems for baggage handling, hold baggage screening (HBS), check-in processing (CUTE), boarding management and passenger-baggage reconciliation.


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Functional testing

The tilt-tray sorter in the south baggage hall at Athens International Airport, tipping a bag to one of the conveyor lines leading to the HBS Level 1 Vivid screening machines.During construction of the new Athens International Airport (capacity 16 million passengers per year), W. Hill proposed and set standards for the contractor’s functional testing programme for the baggage handling system, and monitored the programme. He and 25 of his staff witnessed over 150 tests, and produced over 800 detailed comments for the contractor’s action.


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Operational research

Flap door in front of the weighing conveyor at each check-in counter at Athens International Airport. These flap doors were installed to stop small children getting onto the conveyors and possibly into the BHS (Baggage Handling System). The bar over the conveyors holds the bag tag printer for each counter, and also acts as a physical indication of the maximum allowable height of a bag that can be fed into the BHS. Because of questions raised prior to opening by IATA and the Airline Operators Committee about the dimensions of the check-in conveyors being installed at the new Athens International Airport and the quantity of oversize baggage, W. Hill devised and managed a survey of baggage at Hellinikon Airport. Over 3000 bags on 18 international flights were individually sized at check-in by his staff, and the report submitted to IATA was able to prove that the new airport’s facilities would be adequate.


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Automated sorting

The 14-head auto scanner array on the tilt-tray sorter in the south baggage hall at Athens International Airport, giving 270-degree bar-code scanning coverage around each bag. The remaining 90 degrees is covered by two auto scanner heads below a gap in the conveyors on each induction onto the sorter from the two HBS Level 1 lines.Before the new Athens International Airport opened, it was demonstrated that the number of laser scanners for reading bar-coded bag tags should be increased, and the contractor was advised to install additional units. W. Hill also informed airlines and handling agents of the need for electronic Baggage Source Messages and bar-coded bag tags, so as to use the automated baggage handling system. He monitored messages during trials and after opening, advising airlines of the required corrections to the messages, bag tag format and stock.


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Standard operating procedures

Manual Coding Station No. 1 on the tilt-tray sorter in the south baggage hall at Athens International Airport. The manual coding operator is scanning the carrier's bag tag using a hand-held laser scanner connected to the manual coding touch-screen terminal behind him.The absolute need for standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the new Athens International Airport was highlighted. W. Hill specified and supervised the writing of over sixty detailed SOPs for hold baggage handling and screening. Nine hundred pages of procedures were produced, which standardised and speeded up training of operating staff and other organisations.


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Operational concept

System Operator in the BHS north hall control room at Athens International Airport. The operator is monitoring and controlling the Baggage Handling System using the SCADA system, wall mimics, CCTV system and trunk radio communications with Operations & Maintenance staff in the baggage halls.W. Hill devised the operating concept for baggage services, the baggage handling system and hold baggage screening at the new Athens International Airport. He defined the roles for the Airport Company and specified staff numbers, as well as selecting, hiring and training the staff operating the baggage handling system. He also devised trunk radio talk groups for the operation of the baggage handling system and hold baggage screening machines.


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Control rooms and control facilities

BHS control room in the north baggage hall at Athens International Airport. There are two wall mimics (one per baggage sorting hall), SCADA system, CCTV system and trunk radio to enable the System Operators to monitor and control the BHS and Operations & Maintenance staff.W. Hill designed the layout of the baggage handling system control rooms at the new Athens International Airport. This photograph and the one above show his operations staff monitoring and controlling the system and manual staff, by using wall mimic panels, computers, CCTV and trunk radio. The CCTV system for monitoring baggage handling was introduced by W. Hill.


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BIDS (Baggage Information Display System) monitor above the break-down dock for terminating baggage in the north baggage sorting hall at Athens International Airport. Two flights have been allocated to the reclaim racetrack. The top flight has "Last Bag" and the time of the last bag indicated. The second flight has "First Bag" and the time of the first bag indicated. This functionality was specified by W. Hill. The information is also displayed for passengers on a monitor above the relevant reclaim racetrack in the baggage reclaim hall.W. Hill has considerable experience in static and dynamic signs and markings relating to baggage handling and reclaim, including Baggage Information Display Systems (BIDS) and signs at make-up positions. At the new Athens International Airport he introduced dynamic signs, strategically placed to inform handlers at flight make-up chutes and at other key positions around and outside the baggage halls. He also introduced all the static signs and road markings throughout the baggage handling system, baggage halls and immediately outside.


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Hold baggage screening 1

InVision CTX 5000 screening machine at one of the in-line HBS Level 3 stations in the Main Terminal Building at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.Again, W. Hill has extensive experience in the design and implementation of in-line 100% HBS (hold baggage screening) and was responsible for the unique integration of the check-in system, in-line screening system and baggage reconciliation system at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (capacity 25 million passengers per year), making a recommendation to IATA on an electronic message protocol as a result. He has also cooperated with the Test Director of the US Transportation Security Administra­tion’s Technical Centre.


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Hold baggage screening 2

InVision CTX 9000 screening machine at the in-line HBS Level 3 station in the north baggage sorting hall at Athens International Airport.W. Hill’s experi­ence includes procurement and operation of HBS equipment. He worked on the tender (bid) specification for CT (computed tomography) screening machines at the new Athens International Airport, elaborated the tender evaluation procedure and chaired the evaluation committee. He changed the originally proposed layout of the CT machines from stand-alone to in-line, and also ensured that the facilities provided protection for the equipment.


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Computer simulation

PC display showing the dynamic simulation model Baggage Handling System in the north baggage sorting hall at Athens International Airport. Bags can be seen travelling through the system.W. Hill specified the requirements and outputs of a sophisticated simulation model of the baggage handling system at Athens International Airport and supervised the production of the model. This model is flight schedule driven and is an operational and planning tool as well as a means of checking the capacity of the baggage handling system and assessing the hourly load on the system and screening equipment. W. Hill successfully used the model to obtain Board approval for the installation prior to airport opening of further system capacity for transfer baggage and manual coding. In 2004 he was asked to audit the airport’s preparations for the 2004 Olympic Games and used the model to predict the peak daily quantity of baggage and to identify bottlenecks during the peak day.


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Performance analysis

Chart showing the percentage of baggage against travel time through the BHS at Kuala Lumpur International Airport from point of entry to the flight's make-up chutes in the Satellite Building.Performance of the baggage handling system and operations at the new Kuala Lumpur International Airport were studied by W. Hill after the airport opened, and he was able to recommend several improvements.


At Athens International Airport, in order to improve the performance of airlines, handling agents and Airport Company, he also introduced and supervised studies by operations staff.


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Chart showing daily quantity of departing baggage and daily total of transfer baggage handled at Athens International Airport throughout the first year of operation.W. Hill created the position of BHS Analyst at Athens International Airport, and designed a comprehensive set of statistics reports on hold baggage handling and screening. These are invaluable for operations, maintenance and overall management. Certain reports include performance of handling agents, which improved the level of service.


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