KHALEEJ TIMES, Saturday, Mar 18, 2023 | Sha'ban 26, 1444
Dnata handles over 82 million bags through Dubai International Airport in 2022
Dnata, a leading global air and travel services provider, handled over 82
million bags through all three terminals at Dubai International airport (DXB) in
dnata handles luggage for over 100 airlines and millions of passengers
travelling to 253 destinations from DXB. Merging and processing the flow of
passenger baggage and cargo between three terminals, and ensuring the right
items are loaded onto the right aircraft at the correct time requires meticulous
planning and significant people power. During peak time operations over 1,300
dnata staff work in close synchrony to deliver every piece of baggage in a
timely manner, helping airlines maintain their schedule and provide an excellent
Finely crafted operation
While passengers make their way through any of DXB’s three terminals, dnata’s
operation of military precision is taking place up to five floors below their
feet. DXB’s Baggage Handling System (BHS) transports luggage using innovative
conveyor belts and lifts that move both departing and arriving bags. Under the
concourse floors of Terminal 3 alone, 160 kilometres of baggage tracks spiral
The process to guide a bag to its destination begins from 180 minutes before the
scheduled time of departure. Any bags checked in prior to this are held in T3’s
automated Early Bag Storage facility, with a capacity of 15,000. The departing
bag, transported on its distinctive yellow tray linked to the bag’s luggage tag
for accurate tracking, will be security screened up to five times as it makes
its way through the system. It then progresses to its awaiting container, or
Unit Loading Device (ULD), before being transported on to the aircraft.
As they move through the BHS at up to 2.5 metres per second, the bags then enter
a safe, high-speed transfer tunnel, shooting along at 7.5m/s, faster than the
passenger trains in the adjacent tunnel.
DXB: a world transit hub
With Dubai perfectly positioned as a global hub, many passengers and bags are in
transit to their final destination. Of all passengers arriving into Terminal 3
in 2022, 64 per cent were transiting, while at Terminal 2 transit traffic
accounted for 45 per cent of all passengers.
Preparation for the transfer of bags to their destination, begins mid-flight. By
six hours before the flight’s arrival at DXB, dnata will be ready to accept the
bags, knowing how many on each aircraft it needs to transfer, as well as the
size, weight and final destination of each one.
Despite this huge hub complexity, dnata consistently delivers world class
baggage services at DXB with success rates that significantly outperform the
The ULD’s position on each aircraft also needs to be carefully planned, based on
where the bags are headed and their priority level. For instance, many airlines
expect bags of their First Class customers to be given top priority, and bags
earmarked for transfer also need to be handled immediately and efficiently.
That process can be complicated by baggage that cannot enter the main system,
due to being oversized or unusual. Items such as televisions, sports equipment,
child’s car seats and even holy water requiring manual handling, and these
odd-sized items account for about 5 per cent of total baggage.
The whole operation is carefully monitored and managed by the BHS Control Room,
located below the T3 Arrivals Baggage Hall. Here, a giant digital screen
projects the entire colour-coded Baggage Handling System, alongside CCTV
footage, and operators keeping a close eye on various portions of the massive
operation round the clock.
Jaffar Dawood, dnata’s senior vice-president for UAE airport operations, said:
"dnata is proud to serve the millions of passengers who pass through the world’s
"Dnata ensures that passengers travel with the confidence that their luggage
will be handled efficiently and safely, and will meet them at their destination.
This is made possible by the intricate logistical planning by our teams, and the
handling by baggage personnel every hour of each day. This keeps flights moving
on time and passengers and cargo arriving on schedule."
As one of the world’s largest air and travel services providers, dnata offers
ground handling, cargo, travel and catering & retail services at over 130
airports in more than 30 countries across six continents.