DIA Planning Automated Baggage System. Seriously.

July 2007

As The Denver Post reports today, officials at Denver International Airport (DIA) are planning a $1.2 billion overhaul that will (hee hee) include (snicker) a new (har har) baggage system (tee hee):

Denver International Airport, in its largest construction spree ever, plans to spend $1.2 billion over the next seven years on improvements, including the start of a new automated baggage system. Expansion plans at DIA have been in the works almost since the airport opened in 1995, but a prospectus published in advance of the sale of about $600 million in DIA bonds next month gives previously unreported details of the new baggage system; 10 new mainline jet gates and a new terminal for up to 23 commuter planes on Concourse C; a commuter rail station for RTD's FasTracks train that will link DIA with Union Station; and another covered parking garage. The $600 million in bonds will pay for up to $450 million in construction for the first two years of the plan and refinance as much as $150 million in existing DIA debt. For construction projects beyond 2008, DIA plans to issue up to $722 million in additional bonds. The construction program will spend about $98.5 million on baggage improvements that include ripping out old equipment from the original automated system and the initial stage of a new automated system to funnel luggage between the terminal and DIA's concourses. This would be the first effort at returning to automated baggage delivery since DIA junked its original automated system and returned to traditional tug-and-cart luggage hauling.

Any of you who were in Denver when DIA was being built will surely remember the endless stories of the fancy new automated baggage system that, in the end, did little more than automatically lose your luggage. I'm sure the technology is much better now and a system can be enacted that will work like a charm, but forgive me for being skeptical.