- Associated Press - Thursday, October 16, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The largest airport in Arkansas wants to spend nearly $300,000 to help prevent planes from taking off without their passengers’ suitcases.

Officials with the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport/Adams Field say a design flaw in its baggage-handling system is to blame for bags being left behind. They say power interruptions shut down the automated system for such long periods of time that some flights leave without the suitcases, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported (https://bit.ly/1nqnixJ ).

At least four power interruptions occurred last month, but airport officials say they haven’t hit during peak early morning departures when hundreds of bags could be stuck at the Little Rock airport.

“That’s what we are trying to prevent,” airport Deputy Director Bryan Malinowski told members of the Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission’s lease committee Wednesday. The airport is proposing it spend $283,616 to fix the system. The proposal needs approval from the lease committee and finance committee before it goes to the full commission.

Airport officials point to the lack of an uninterruptible power supply for its 40 individual control panels in its 2-year-old, $11.5-million system.

The baggage-handling system is made up of conveyor belts and special equipment that scans bags and sends them to airlines, which then take the suitcases to planes for loading. It replaced a process by Transportation Security Administration workers for checking baggage for explosives in the airport’s ticket lobby, which is often congested.

The airport says it plans to pay for the new work after the TSA turned down its request to use money left over from a grant the federal agency gave to them. The airport also says the companies that designed and installed the system aren’t responsible for paying to fix the problem because they followed federal requirements.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com


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