Published on:

Nov 15, 2022

The BrightSky booth

Paul had a Vanderlande tug transported to Schiphol, which was the showcase of our booth, drawing a lot of attention. Gijs had prepared a 5 minute presentation of the T-Hive products, which ran in a loop on a laptop. We had a good amount of visitors and some animated discussions. We shared our booth with two men working in the Schiphol Innovation Hub on (among other things) "Future baggage", where they look really far into the future ("horizon 3" in the McKinsey model).

For us, as BrightSky representatives, we were also interested in "Autonomous Airside", an area of research where opportunities are investigated to make airside operations smarter and more automated. Vanderlande and T-Hive very much focus on the baggage handling process on apron of course, but for me it was an eye-opener what other opportunities exist to make aviation more sustainable. I didn't know for instance that 80.000 tons of CO2 can be saved by using a tug to taxi airplanes to their gate, instead of using the airplane's engines.

In addition to manning our booth there was also plenty of time to walk around and look at the other innovations. I'll highlight two.

The first was a cool demonstration of a drone being used to inspect aircraft for damage. The company Mainblades took a commercial drone, added lidar to it, a high-resolution camera, and loads of smart software. The drone flies over the aircraft, first orients itself to determine its exact position, and then takes hundreds of photos. These are automatically analysed and compared to a database, and an exact report is given about the number, location, and severity of any damage. Impressive!


I could also try out a Microsoft HoloLens that was loaded with 3D-images of an airplane engine, and interactive software to learn maintenance procedures and operations. KLM uses this to teach maintenance engineers how to do this, without having to have a physical engine present. Many more people can be taught at the same time, it is easier to work in groups, and all in all it is far more flexible and cost-efficient than working on a real engine.

Award ceremony

Marjan Rintel, the new KLM CEO, spoke at the Innovation Award ceremony, where many prizes were awarded in various categories. No BrightSky workstream was nominated, but of course we will work hard to change that for next year's Innovation Fair!