As airlines make their best efforts to reduce costs, more and more airports are reevaluating the efficiency of MRO facilities, with specific focus on ground service equipment (GSE). About 100,000 flights take off across the world daily, so it is not a surprise that airlines are making a partial or total switch to electric GSE to reduce costs and their environmental footprint. Through the implementation of electric GSE, airports have revolutionized ground operations by supplying ground crews with cleaner, more energy-efficient technology.
It is clear that upgrading a fleet of GSE to electric variations is a promising investment for airlines around the globe. Electric GSE supports all the various tasks carried out during ground operations, such as low-end torque in towing and taxiing, frequent starts and stops when driving from gate to gate, extensive idle time, and the short drive range from hangar to hangar. Moreover, with electric chargers safely located throughout an airport, electric GSE makes ground operations easier, reduces GSE traffic, and saves thousands.
Different Types of Electric GSE
There are a wide range of electric GSE types, some of which we will outline in this section.
Electric Tow Tractors: are powerful pieces of airport GSE that are utilized to tow and taxi aircraft to and from the runway. Also called tugs, electric tow tractors are available in various sizes to suit a wide range of aircraft. Additionally, they are made in towbarless or towbar models, with towing capabilities between 95,000 to 113,000 pounds.
Electric Cargo Tugs: are a critical part of an array of airline operations. These airport ground vehicles are often used to move pieces of equipment that ground crews are unable to move themselves. They also help transport high value or commercial goods that have rigid expected delivery times.
Electric Lavatory Trucks: are airport ground vehicles used to refill and empty lavatories on aircraft. With manual or electric power, lavatory trucks are capable of removing water from the previous flight and refill the tanks with a water and disinfectant mixture.
Electric Potable Water Trucks: are ground vehicles that provide an efficient means for ground crews to transport safe drinking water to aircraft. To move the water, potable water pumps with an electric pump are used for transportation.
Electric Container Loaders: are an easy way for ground crews to load and unload cargo while adhering to airlines’ rigorous flight schedules. They feature a raising platform and a descending platform, and wheels below the cargo move the containers in and out of aircraft.
Electric Belt Loaders: are used for loading and unloading baggage, as well as other important cargo items that are not stowed in containers. Typically, they are equipped with conveyor belts that crews position at the door of an aircraft’s baggage compartment for operation.
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