Leonardo's Pioneering Baggage Handling Soln for Southwest Airlines

DenverImage Source: Southwest Airlines


Southwest Airlines partners with Leonardo to revolutionize Denver Airport's baggage handling with advanced cross-belt sorting technology, promising enhanced efficiency, reduced delays, and an improved passenger experience.


In a monumental collaboration, Southwest Airlines, a major US carrier, has chosen Leonardo's cutting-edge sorter technology to transform Denver International Airport's transfer bags facility. This strategic move aims to optimize passenger travel experiences by slashing baggage mishandlings, improving connection times, and bolstering the airport's capacity to accommodate burgeoning passenger volumes.

Denver Airport, a global aviation hub, witnessed over 69 million passengers in 2022, ranking among the world's top 10 busiest airports. Leonardo's technology, a €25 million contract, specifically addresses Southwest's requirements to overhaul its manual sortation process and streamline tail-to-tail transfer bag operations.

A significant highlight of this endeavor is the introduction of Leonardo's cross-belt sorter technology, a pioneering feat in the United States. Renowned for its reliability and efficiency, this technology promises heightened accuracy, accelerated sorting speeds, and enhanced scalability. This innovation is set to elevate Southwest's operational efficiency by automating transfer bag sortation, reducing workload, and eradicating existing operational challenges.

Andrew Watterson, Southwest Airlines' Chief Operations Officer, emphasized the transformative impact of this advancement, particularly in modernizing their largest operation at Denver Airport. The system, spanning 500 meters (1640 feet), incorporates three induction lines, serving 94 destinations, along with conveyor-based bag buffers and advanced IT systems for intelligent routing and diagnostics.

Leonardo's MBHS technology is poised to revolutionize the baggage handling process, optimizing resource utilization and slashing operational costs, leading to a reduced cost per bag. This implementation is expected to substantially enhance aircraft turnaround time, streamline flight schedules, and elevate customer satisfaction by eliminating delays and ensuring prompt baggage delivery.

Massimiliano Veltroni, Managing Director of Automation Business Unit at Leonardo, expressed confidence in the system's transformative nature, foreseeing game-changing efficiency for Southwest's operation. The successful deployment at Denver marks a significant achievement for Leonardo, showcasing the prowess of their state-of-the-art MBHS technology in the American aviation landscape.


Southwest Airlines' collaboration with Leonardo in implementing cross-belt sorting technology signifies a pivotal shift in baggage handling efficiency at Denver Airport. The adoption of this advanced system promises to revolutionize operations, reduce costs, and significantly enhance the overall passenger experience, underscoring the transformative potential of Leonardo's cutting-edge technology.

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