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S.L. FIRM WON’T HELP FIX BAG SYSTEM

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The issue of liability over any future failures of the automated baggage system at Denver International Airport has killed plans by the city to hire a Salt Lake firm to help fix programming problems.

Denver had chosen Eaton-Kenway, a materials handling firm, to help get the $193 million automated system off the ground. But talks bogged down when the firm wanted to be assured it wouldn't be held liable in any lawsuit.As a result, Mayor Wellington Webb's attempts to have computer software experts assist his staff in opening the airport are back to where they were seven weeks ago, when he announced an indefinite delay in opening the $3.7 billion airport.

Webb's chief of staff, Stephanie Foote, said Tuesday it shouldn't take long to catch up. The city will authorize its other consultant, Logplan of Frankfurt, Germany, to hire software experts as subcontractors.

That will increase Logplan's $180,000 contract with Denver by an unknown amount, but it will save the city time in trying to hire a replacement for Eaton-Kenway.

"We're going to let Logplan decide what other types of people they need," Foote said.

Also on Tuesday, the Webb administration announced four steps that must be completed before the mayor selects a new opening date for DIA.

First, the company that built the baggage system, BAE Automated Sys-tems, must submit a master schedule by about July 15, officials said. Second, Logplan and the city will evaluate the schedule and conduct several tests to see how realistic it is.

Then, Denver will consult with airlines, and finally, the system must run at an acceptable level for testing purposes, officials said.