"I feel proud when every suitcase makes it to the right plane on time."

Publication date: 19 May 2023 I Reading time: Minute

There's around 35 kilometres of baggage belts and that keeps on increasing. If any disruptions occur, Arwiend Harnam (1984) comes into action. When he was studying Facility Management he worked as jam runner at Schiphol and resolved technical issues in no time. Right after graduating, there was a vacancy for the position of BASS director. That couldn't have been a coincidence. "I had always wanted to do this work; that vacancy came at the perfect time."

"Whenever there's an issue with the system, I spring into action. I feel proud when every suitcase makes it to the right plane on time."

"My work as BASS director is very varied. During every shift I am responsible for a quarter of the whole baggage system at Schiphol. I deal with the running of the baggage process, an especially important role when issues arise. I ensure that baggage flows are redirected. Besides that, I respond to ad hoc requests from baggage handlers and I determine what kind of technical work needs to be carried out on the system. That requires some planning and it's always my responsibility. The BASS directors are the only ones who can stop, start and reset the baggage system."


"This position involves a lot of responsibility. On a busy day, you and your fellow directors are responsible for almost 200,000 pieces of luggage. A plan gets made and then it's up to us to ensure that everything runs smoothly. You feel the importance of your work. If there is stagnation here, it has an impact on the whole airport. You get queues in the halls, delays, crowding at security. If something goes wrong in the baggage basement, the effect is felt everywhere."


"Of course, you're not just thrown into the deep end. A few months' training is required for this position, and everyone helps each other out. There aren't many people in the operation at the moment. That's why, at quiet moments, I sometimes help out. We have a great and close team. In the beginning I did have some doubts. All those computer screens, could I do that? From the outset my colleagues gave me the confidence I needed. Now I'm training someone myself. I answer his questions and make sure he gets the hang of all the components of the job. It's an extra task that I'm happy to take on."

"When I saw all the computer screens, I did have my doubts, but my colleagues gave the confidence I needed."


"It's totally fine if you just do your job here and then you're done. If you want to do more, that's possible too. I like to keep developing and there is every opportunity for that here. During the coronavirus lockdowns, I took on a lot of front and back-office administrative work. Now I am discovering work in the field of HR. I attend job interviews and have a kind of mentor role for a new colleague."


"At Schiphol you get a lot of freedom to keep on developing. I try out all kinds of roles and keep getting a step further. There are many different vacancies at the airport, I see a lot that I get enthusiastic about. My future is definitely at Schiphol. I don't yet know in which direction exactly. I'm keeping my eyes peeled for anything that comes my way."