AGVs & Electric Tugs: A New Way to Optimize Airport Logistics

May 29, 2020 | Blogs

Air travel has slowed dramatically. Over the past few weeks, commercial airlines have radically reduced their passenger operations due to international travel restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic. Some key airport sectors that have been affected are refueling, cleaning, baggage transfer, departure gate services and the loading and unloading of cargo. The biggest is, of course, airport retail.

This decrease in passage travel and foot traffic in airports specifically has seen Heathrow Airport increase the number of dedicated cargo flights, allowing for essential cargo to remain operational. Heathrow Airport reportedly had its busiest day on cargo-only flights amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdown. Online retail giant Amazon has started operating a dedicated cargo aircraft, to service the surge of internet shoppers. However, an Indian airport is facing a unique cargo problem. Mumbai International Airport Limited has around 4500 MT of backed-up cargo and uncleared import shipments. Nonetheless, airlines today are using their available capacity to priorities cargo flights with vital supplies like food, medicines and medical devices as part of the fight against the coronavirus outbreak. But for these essential supplies to reach their final destination safely and seamlessly, carefully-considered logistical processes, cargo ops, and equipment are needed.

At Movexx we’ve spent several years developing solutions which safely and effectively transport freight and passenger goods. We helped air-transport clients to achieve efficient logistics throughout the entire airport and aviation companies reach new heights. We have worked with a leading German airline and the largest Dutch airport to efficiently and timeously move cargo and trollies. In recent years, we have worked closely with our dealers in various markets to offer our clients innovative solutions.

The impact
The (immediate) future of airport logistics looks vastly different due to COVID-19. Not only will airports and other industries be required to create a centralized and automated system, but they will need to use existing technology to optimize various sectors within the air transport services and aviation industry. New health regulations, such as social distancing, are becoming the norm in both public and working environments. These changes could cause delayed projects and manufacturing stoppages. In settings where fewer workers can simultaneously occupy the same working space, the turnaround time on delivery is expected to increase.

The solution
AGVs have not only been changing the retail and medical world, but industry insight suggests that autonomous and automated guided vehicles are also gaining traction in the aviation industry. In the coming years, or maybe even months, AGVs are expected to revolutionize airport logistics by transporting cargo throughout the airport while determining and navigating the most optimal route. The same applies in the retail industry. As e-commerce demand rises during corona times, warehouses that support online shops, are also turning to AGVs to streamline order fulfillment and even deliver groceries.

Currently, AGVs are used to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Even the most flexible companies are looking for ways to increase efficiency and productivity while still complying with public health regulations. In addition, an AGV or other Movexx electric tug ensures that the one and a half meter rule is guaranteed. Where previously a train with trolleys or carts had to be moved in pairs, it can now be done with 1 person. If an AGV is used, no personnel at all is required.

Another solution to integrate the Movexx T1000 in combination with OPT0514 into the work process at the airport. This will not only enable the limited airport staff to move the baggage trolleys efficiently, but also to increase productivity.


The Movexx T1000 with OPT0514, a module to transport shopping trolleys and luggage trolleys.


Manual transport of carts without an electric tug requires energy and is time consuming. This is where the T1000-Platform is very useful. This electric tug enables the driver to carry a train of trolleys, comfortably and with no physical effort. This could make all the difference in a distribution center operating with minimum staff. Despite the changes that are to come, and until borders reopen or the threat of coronavirus diminishes, airports, in general, will need to think of new solutions and equipment to keep themselves in operation, post-coronavirus.

To find out more about any of the electric tugs mentioned in this blog, simply visit our website.

The T1500 moves a steel ladder at KLM.